Yesterday, February 12, 2014, Nashotah House Theological Seminary was pleased to bear witness to the commissioning ceremony of Mr. Tyler Whatley, ’16. He was commissioned to serve in the United States Navy, not only as an officer, but as a chaplain candidate. Ensign Noah Lawson, ’14, who was commissioned in 2012 in the same program, began the ceremony by sharing what a chaplain candidate is, and prepared everyone for the ceremony. LT Christopher Pokorny, ’15, a chaplain candidate in the USAF opened the ceremony in prayer,
“Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed services at home and abroad… Grant courage and vision to your military chaplains as they serve the men and women of the armed forces. May their lives and service call your people to respond to the presence of your Holy Spirit, to be faithful to the Gospel, and to trust in the hope of Jesus Christ…”
Following the opening prayer, ENS Lawson led Tyler by administering the Oath of Office. Following the Oath, Chief Michael Hanson, USN, shared a few encouraging words to Tyler about the impact chaplains can have on the troops, emphasizing the importance of being present in their daily lives. We were also blessed to have Chaplain (CAPT) Jim Cravens, USN, with us who reminded Tyler and the other chaplain candidates present, that in the midst of the paperwork and ranks, real ministry does happen and to keep focused on the mission. We concluded the ceremony by laying hands on and praying for Tyler and his wife Tia, as they embark on the next step of their discernment.
Military chaplaincy is a unique opportunity to serve those who serve and to reach many of our servicemen and women who would never darken the door of a church. Military members need faith support, both at home and abroad, as many find themselves on a ship or in a remote location at times, chaplains are crucial as they can minister to the troops where they are at. LT Pokorny chose military chaplaincy because of his desire to serve the troops in a meaningful and fulfilling way. The Chaplain Candidate program allows students to continue their studies at their respective theological schools and spend time during the summer break shadowing experienced chaplains and receiving valuable on-the-job training. Nashotah House is proud of her students who have chosen this path and encourages any students, prospective students, or alumni interested in military chaplaincy to talk with Tyler, Noah, and Christopher, who are serving as chaplain candidates.
Nashotah House thanks Ms. Sarah Pokorny, Registrar of Nashotah House for this piece. Our prayers are with you, Mr. Whatley, as you continue to serve the Lord.