May Navy Weekend

I want to share with you this month about my May Navy weekend drill in Charlotte. I was part of a change of command ceremony. Can you find me in the photo? The ceremony last Saturday officially welcomed the new Commanding Officer to the Navy Reserve Center. (She’s on the far right. She is a helicopter pilot and Naval Academy graduate.) She replaces the previous commander who is leaving for a new assignment in Norfolk. (He’s second from the right and is a former ship commander.) By the way, we are all saluting because the picture was taken during the playing of the National Anthem.

The ceremony includes dignitaries (there were four Admirals present), a guest speaker (He’s the second from the left. He’s their boss.). Family members of the arriving and departing Commanding Officers are also invited. The ceremony regularly includes a Chaplain, and the departing Commanding Officer asked me to be part of it. I was honored to be there. You can see additional pictures of the ceremony at the NRC Charlotte Facebook page.

My role in the ceremony was to lead a prayer near the beginning of the ceremony and offer a benediction. There is a nice tradition in all branches of the military that Chaplains pray during ceremonies. When I am part of an official ceremony like this, I am always aware that I am offering a prayer in a gathering of people with many different faith traditions or no faith tradition and that shapes the prayer I offer. Also, when Sailors and Marines see me in a particular role, it may encourage them to come find me at some point when they need a bit of counsel.

As a Chaplain, I have a very good seat during the event. I sit on the platform where the ceremony is happening so I can see everyone who has a part in the ceremony and everyone in the audience. I saw a lot of smiles and a few happy tears. The departing commander did a very good job in his two years in Charlotte, and he was a bit emotional during his departing remarks when talking about his closeness with his staff.

After the ceremony a cake was cut and everyone had a piece. My piece was from the center of the cake. I was kind of hoping for a corner piece with extra icing, but those special pieces are probably saved for the Admirals.
Together in the Risen Christ,