Every Chaplain A Pastor
Chaplain Brent Johnson, my immediate predecessor, wrote these words.
I don’t think I can improve upon them. Therefore, I will let them stand.
(But I might actually partake in a glass of Scotch once in a while.)
God’s Blessings to you,
Chaplain Roger VanDerWerken, CDR, USN.
(assumed the watch February 2010)
Every chaplain is a pastor, but not all pastors are chaplains. A few years ago I heard someone explain how unique Scotch was. They said that all Scotch is made from Whiskey, but not all Whiskeys become Scotch. I’m not a drinker of distilled liqueurs so I did not know that, but I realized there is an analogy there with the ministry I bring to the members and families of the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group.
In order to become your chaplain I had to be ordained first by a church. Then that church had to recommend me to the military as a fully qualified minister ready to be trained in the unique culture that is the Department of the Navy and serve as a chaplain to the fine Marines, Sailors, and Guardians that the Navy Chaplain Corps cares for as pastors. I’m surprised at the number of military members I meet who do not realize I perform weddings, baptize children and adults, preach from a pulpit, and do the same things their pastors do back home. I get the added benefit of wearing a uniform and spending my days doing pastoral care with men and women who have chosen to serve this great country we live in.
I look forward to meeting the Marines when they check into MCESG, teaching the couples class for Detachment Commanders and their spouses when they are in MSG school, and reaching out around the world to our embassies and consulates providing care to our watch standers no matter the hour or day.
Remember, every MSG is a Marine, but not all Marines are MSGs. I’m proud to be their pastor.
Chaplain Brent Johnson
Commander, US Navy