OCA represented at military, chaplaincy conferences

Frs. Boback and Gallick at conference.

Frs. Boback and Gallick at conference.

ALEXANDRIA, VA [OCA] – 31/1/15

Archpriest Theodore Boback, Dean/Executive Director of the Orthodox Church in America’s Military and VA Chaplaincies, and Archpriest Joseph Gallick participated in the Annual NCMAF and ECVAC Conference and AFCB meeting here recently.

Due to prior commitments, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon was unable to attend this year’s gatherings.

The annual National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces [NCMAF], the Endorsers Conference for Veterans Affairs Chaplaincy [ECVAC], and the Armed Forces Chaplains Board with the three branches’ Chief of Chaplains was held January 12-15, 2015.

“The ECVAC portion of the conference included presentations by Chaplain Michael McCoy Chaplain John Milewski and Mr. John Batten from the VA Chaplain National Office, who offered a presentation on the VA Chaplaincy and personnel concerns, followed by discussion,” said Father Theodore. “A business meeting was conducted in the late afternoon.

“This year, the NCMAF had as its theme ‘Serving Those Who Serve: A Renewed Vision for a Time of Change,’” Father Ted continued. “The theme was chosen because of the various transitions that have taken place over the last decade.”

The first day included presentations by a panel on “Ensuring High Standards: Serving with Integrity and Trust.
Steve Schwab from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation spoke on Influencing religious Bodies on behalf of our veterans. CAPT Jim Fisher, USN, CHC (Ret) was the luncheon speaker, offering a presentation titled “Operation Heal Our Patriots Samaritans Purse.” Additional sessions included “Guarding Religious Free Exercise” with Policy Representatives of the Chiefs of Chaplains, followed by an interactive policy issue workshop. The day concluded with a presentation by the Navy, Army, and Air Force Chaplaincy Recruiters.

Presentations on the second day included “Improving Patient-Centered Care Via Integration of Chaplains into Mental Health Care” by CAPT Sheila O’Mara, CHC USN (Ret); “Support for the Defense Centers of Excellent for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury” by Dr. Jeff Rhodes, D.Min.; and “Domestic Violence, Child Abuse and Neglect and Looking Ahead” by Ms. Rosemary Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Military Community and Family Policy. Dr. Barbara McGraw, Director of the Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism, aksi soije ib “Safeguarding Religious Free Exercise” and conducted an interactive workshop with CH (COL) Ken Bush, USA Retired. The day ended with a NCMAF business meeting, during which it’s by-laws were reviewed.

The final day’s events, hosted by the Armed Forces Chaplains Board, opened with a welcome by Mr. Anthony M. Kurta, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy, and Chaplain (Colonel) Jerry Pitts, Executive Director, Armed Forces Chaplains Board. Presentations and a panel discussion by featuring Rear Admiral Karen G. Kibben, CHC, USN; CH (Major General) Donald Rutherford; and Ch, Major General, Howard Stendahl, also were offered. Personnel briefings by Chaplain Corps Personnel Directors and the Annual Compliance Process Update rounded out the program.