Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: "Once we had wooden chalices and golden priests; now we have golden chalices and wooden priests. ”Emerson's perception of the non-caring, formal and distant minister is one that we, in our time, must still strive to overcome. Our effectiveness as Chaplains directly depends upon our ability to relate to hurting people, wherever they may be found. Pastoral care is more than counseling. It is taking care of hurting people and celebrating with others. The Chaplain/Pastor should be the model caregiver. He or she may not be a gifted orator or have a charismatic personality, but there is no excuse for a Chaplain not to care. Pastoral care is both art and science. It is art because the minister must have a sixth sense about people. Pastoral care also is a science where the caregiver has a systematic discipline in visiting parishioners and intervening during crises. The Chaplain who wants to be a real care giver needs to develop a sound plan for regular visitation in the hospitals, care giving facilities, and residence homes in his or her area. Hospital ministry is an important part of the Chaplain's responsibility to the veterans and their families. The Chaplain's role differs from that of the parish minister. The Chaplain does not take the place of a patient's regular minister. The pastor visits a hospital patient to encourage the patient's spiritual life, offer the comfort of faith, and express the concern of the congregation. While the Chaplain may also do these things, depending upon his or her relationship with the patient, the very nature of a Chaplain's role brings another dimension to the dynamics of the visit. He or she is an extension of our organization, The American Legion. Since the Chaplain of the Legion is by definition, nondenominational, another level of pastoral care can be attained. Legion and Auxiliary Chaplains need to understand that one does not need to have formal ministerial training in order to become an effective visitor of patients. A caring personality is the greatest qualification. Spiritual preparation is the basic preparation for the Chaplain. Spiritual preparation is necessary for the Chaplain because spirituality is the unique gift the Chaplain has to offer. Unlike the medical doctor, the Chaplain has no pills. The Chaplain does not fulfill the divine call by lending money like a banker. The inner heart of ministry is spirituality. Chaplains who do not prepare spiritually have nothing to give that can't be given by a social service agency. The beginning point of spiritual preparation is the individual's own experience with God. This is the spring that feeds the streams of spirituality and waters the arid fields of ones life and ministry. What grace did Paul have to share before his Damascus road experience? The source of spirituality is the transcendent. Scripture and prayer are doors into the spiritual. Private devotion and meditation are essential to spiritual preparation. There are other helpful ways to spiritual preparation. Reading devotional literature, listening to music, and seeking out a spiritual director who can offer insights and asks questions can move one toward spiritual sensitivity. The key to being an effective Chaplain is to be an observer and a learner of what works in interpersonal relationships. A good Chaplain wants to do the best with what God has given. A good Chaplain will never stop preparing for the task and opportunity which comes from Gods call upon ones life.  The Post Chaplain shall be charged with the spiritual welfare of the post comrades and will offer divine but non-sectarian service in the event of dedications, funerals, public function etc., adhere to such ceremonial rituals as recommended by the National or Department Headquarters from time to time. He/She must be a person capable of moral and intellectual leadership and one who gives dignity and respect to the office. He/She should attend all meetings of the post and executive committee. The Chaplain shall serve as chairman of the Sunshine/Visiting/Veterans Administration Voluntary Services (VAVS) Committee which coordinates, the voluntary endeavors of the membership at nearby VA Hospital Facilities. The sick should be visited at home, hospital, or nursing home, comforting of members and their families when sick or bereaved.
Post Chaplain
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781 Rancocas Road Po Box 123 08060  County ot  Burlington  Towship of  Westampton  City of  Mount Holly  State of  New Jersey  United States of America alpost509@msn.com  (1-609) 261 0163
Westampton Memorial American Legion Post 509