Category Archives: Chaplains

Col. Russ Ragon, USAF Chaplain and member of Chaplains Work and Care Committee, dies at 58


Chaplain Col. Ronald “Russ” Ragon

Chaplain Col. Ronald “Russ” Ragon, 58, went home to his Savior on April 8, 2023. He served 21 years in the United States Air Force and was the former pastor of Lookout Valley Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, Tenn. A Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the West, he was a current member of the EPC Chaplains Work and Care Committee.

Chaplain Ragon was sworn into the United States Air Force as Chaplain in July 2001. Assignments included Chaplain, Beale Air Force Base, Calif.; Staff Chaplain, United States Air Force Academy, Colo.; Senior Protestant Chaplain and Branch Chief, Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Deputy Wing Chaplain, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas; AFIT Student, Army Family Life Chaplain Training Center, Fort Hood, Texas; Deputy Wing Chaplain, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.; Wing Chaplain, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey; Wing Chaplain, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England; Deputy Division Chief, Chaplain Career Management, Air Force Personnel Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas; and Deputy Command Chaplain, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.

Over the course of his 21-year career, Ragon deployed to multiple locations in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Inherent Resolve, Freedom’s Sentinel, and Spartan Shield. While deployed to Sather Air Base, Iraq, he made a direct and lasting impact on thousands of coalition personnel by forging spiritual resiliency and reintegration for military families and honoring the lives of 34 fatally wounded warriors. During his most recent deployment to Qatar, Ragon led a 23-member team in the execution of more than 250 faith group services and 900 individual counseling sessions. In addition, his team delivered critical spiritual support to 9,000 personnel during the Operation Allies Refuge evacuation of 57,000 United States and Afghan citizens over a three-week period.

Ragon earned the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters; Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters; Air Force Meritorious Unit Award; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster; Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze star; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals; Armed Forces Service Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal; Air and Space Campaign Medal; Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster; Air Force Overseas Service Short and Long Tour Ribbons; Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border; Air Force Longevity Service Award with four oak leaf clusters; and Air Force Training Ribbon.

He is survived by his mother Judy Ragon; sister and brother-in-law Regina and Gustavo Varela; wife Margaret Fletcher Ragon; daughter Samantha Ragon; daughter and son-in-law Madeline and Brandon Atha; son and daughter-in-law Timmy and Morgan Ragon; and four grandchildren.

Click here for a full memorial notice.

Mark Ingles and EPC Chaplaincy highlight “In All Things” podcast episode 60


Mark Ingles, the EPC’s Chaplain Endorser, is the guest for episode 60 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things.” This week’s episode highlights the denomination’s strategic priority of Effective Biblical Leadership.

Host Dean Weaver and Ingles discuss the various ministry opportunities for chaplains in both the military and civilian institutions, as well as his how his role as Chaplain Endorser helps facilitate those pursuing chaplaincy ministry in the EPC. Ingles also recounts his path as the son of an Army father to his own calling as an Air Force chaplain.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at

EPC Chaplain Endorser serves local charities through Christmas lights display


EPC Teaching Elder and holiday decor enthusiast Mark Ingles spends about three weeks getting his Christmas display ready each year. (Photo by Parker Seibold, the Colorado Springs Gazette.)

For nearly a decade, EPC Chaplain Endorser Mark Ingles has used his home Christmas lights display to benefit the Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado. Ingles’ efforts have resulted in nearly six tons of food donations, as well as several thousand dollars in cash for the Springs Rescue Mission in Colorado Springs.

As they have for the past several years, local media outlets in Colorado Springs have helped spread the word. On December 17, the Colorado Springs Gazette published a feature on Ingles’ display, “Colorado Springs Christmas display offers gift of giving.

Local television news stations KKTV 11 News and KOAA News5 also highlighted how Ingles leverages his Christmas spirit to benefit the community:

Ingles estimates he has about 6,000 lights on display. His house is so bright that it can be seen by aircraft approaching Colorado Springs airport.

“In All Things” podcast episode 27 explores tragedy, suffering, grief with EPC NICU chaplain Jennifer Prechter


Episode 27 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Jennifer Prechter, EPC Teaching Elder who serves as a palliative care chaplain at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, both in Orlando, Fla.

This week, host Dean Weaver and Prechter discuss her journey to hospital chaplaincy, and how her ministry provides opportunity for addressing deep questions of life with unchurched people across a wide spectrum of life experience.

Prechter also discusses how “longing and lament” can help people process tragedies such as a child with a terminal illness, or the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at

U.S. Army breaks rules to keep EPC Chaplain in ministry role


Imagine caring for the minds and souls of 2,500 soldiers and their families. How about 12,000? Better yet, how about 42,000? Or 98,000? Chaplain Timothy Mallard doesn’t have to imagine. This has been the U.S. Army Colonel’s role in his 30 years of active-duty military service.

Col. Timothy Mallard

Mallard currently serves on the faculty of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. The school specifically needed a chaplain with a Ph.D. in Christian Ethics—which Mallard earned from the University of Wales in Cardiff (in addition to two seminary degrees)—so his mandatory retirement date was extended beyond 30 years so that he could fill the position.

With the milestone, members of the Mallard family have ministered to soldiers for more than six decades. Mallard’s father served for 30 years as an Army chaplain. Though Timothy never felt pressure from his father to follow in his footsteps, when God called him to the ministry he answered. And while growing up in a military home provided some understanding of the Army lifestyle, Mallard notes that his experience is not the norm for enlistees—particularly those with little or no religious upbringing.

“Many soldiers enter the service with no faith background or tradition,” Mallard said. “The spiritual and moral demands on a soldier present a challenge for all of us.”

America under attack

The spiritual and moral demands became very real to Mallard on September 11, 2001. Despite being miles away, he heard American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. He had stayed home that day to care for a sick child, but immediately rushed to the Pentagon, knowing that America was under attack and that he would be needed.

Mallard and a physician were assigned to a FEMA team from Tennessee. The two were with making that section of the Pentagon safe to allow for the recovery of victims. The doctor determined if a victim located was alive. Mallard’s role was to say a blessing over the victim.

“I remember being utterly stunned at how fragile the human body is … the suffering,” Mallard recalled. “I felt so inadequate. Nothing in my theological training had prepared me for that.”

At 9:37 a.m. on September 11, 2001, American Airlines flight 77 hit the Pentagon. Chaplain Timothy Mallard was home nearby and rushed to the scene where he provided spiritual support to victims and first responders. (image from security camera footage credit: Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense).

One morning as Mallard arrived in the chaplain tent, a member of the FEMA team found him and said he was needed immediately. The team told him they wouldn’t go back into the building until he spoke to them and gave them a word of hope. The grief and trauma of the task overwhelmed them, and morale was low.

Mallard pulled his military issue New Testament and Psalms from his uniform, turned to Psalm 23, and began reading. As he came to verse 4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death …” he looked over to the gash the airplane had cut into the wall of the Pentagon and began crying.

“Maybe that gave others permission to start crying as well,” Mallard reflected. “Then I realized that I had to finish the remainder of the Psalm. One man said, ‘Okay, now we’re ready to go.’ And they did.”

After the team left, Mallard returned to the chaplain tent where he found a dark corner and wept with a “deep sense of despair and utter abandonment by God”—questioning his ability to minister, lead, and care for others.

A fellow chaplain, unknown to Mallard, appeared at that moment and laid a hand upon his shoulder, offering up a prayer of encouragement and strength. He remembers the smile and the uniform, the lifting of the burden, and the sense of resolve in fulfilling his care for the rescuers.

On the morning of September 15, 2001, Mallard (left) went to the chaplain’s tent 50 yards from the Pentagon and collapsed in the back, overcome with his own grief. Capt. Doug Waite (right), a United Methodist chaplain serving in the U.S. Navy, hugged and prayed with Mallard, who at the time was a Department of the Army Intern in the Office of the Chief of Chaplains at the Pentagon. The two men never saw each other again until the producers of a 2018 PBS documentary series, “We’ll Meet Again,” reunited them. Mallard said Waite’s compassion that day has been critical for his ministry ever since, including multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The many days and weeks spent at the crash site prepared him to mentor young chaplains as they prepare for their service.

“I never anticipated the cost to my service, and it took a toll on my spirit, my soul, and my family. There is nothing in seminary that prepares you for that. You have to learn to integrate suffering into your person and then how you minister to others.”

The suffering component of ministry is particularly critical for military chaplains. Suicide and suicidal ideation—especially among junior enlistees—is an area of concern across all branches of the military. Mallard notes that military leadership across the board spends enormous amounts of time and money on training and resources to mitigate the risk of suicide.

“These young soldiers come from backgrounds that often lack moral formation, language, and thought,” he said. “They lack the ability to face problems with a solid foundation of ethics. They are far more at risk when they enter this complex organization that makes many demands of them. They are unprepared to deal with this stress.”

A significant part of that stress involves deploying to combat zones—which for military chaplains is what distinguishes the role from that of civilian clergy. Mallard has completed multiple deployments, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq (twice), Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Kosovo.

From September 11 to COVID-19

Nearly 20 years after 9/11, Mallard was supervising chaplains and a staff of more than 340 people in 104 countries in Europe and Africa when COVID-19 hit in 2020. Ministering to soldiers and their families required working within the differing local and national restrictions and requirements. Due to the dedication and creativity of the chaplains and religious affairs specialists, they were able to pivot from direct ministry to fully virtual within two weeks.

“We had to ensure that our ministry would not be a potential venue for infection, so the advisory role was vital to maintaining safety as we adapted to the pandemic,” he said.

Mallard emphasized that EPC chaplains view their ministries as an extension of the church—one that will strengthen the church as well. But it will require an intentional effort to help bridge a growing divide between the military and the nation it serves.

“We have a tremendously capable force with lots of experience and expertise, but there is a cost to this,” he explained. “This cost is not known to the average American.”

Mallard (second from left) helps lead a Thanksgiving worship service while on deployment to Iraq in 2010.

He believes that this sense of separateness presents both a challenge and an opportunity to the church. When a service member leaves the military, they leave a community that understands firsthand the mission and the lifestyle. Soldiers deploy—and redeploy—over and over. They deal with complex and ambiguous issues that civilians typically do not face. Reintegrating into civilian life can be challenging for the veteran, as well as his or her family.

“Our churches should move beyond the ‘thank you for your service’ and intentionally develop ministry programs that attend to the needs of uniformed active duty, guard, reserve, veterans, and their families,” Mallard said. “What is your church doing to reach out to them? Are you drawing upon their expertise and experience?”

Mallard noted that experience gained in military service—both technically and tactically—also comes with a sense of professionalism. A veteran’s deep-seated sense of commitment carries over into his or her life, job, and church participation.

“This commitment means that they are always contributing to the life of our churches and to our denominations,” he said. “Churches should be in the vanguard in wanting to support these members, to help them with their issues that can be lifelong—long after they take off the uniform.”

Mallard is one of more than 70 EPC chaplains serving in a variety of military and civilian roles. For more information about EPC chaplaincy ministries, see

The PBS documentary on Mallard’s 9/11 experience, “Heroes of 9/11,” from the series “We’ll Meet Again” is available at

by Kelli Lambert Gilbreath
EPConnection correspondent

2021 Leadership Institute: Chaplains Workshop


In the 2021 Chaplains Workshop, Mark Ingles encouraged the Chaplains to remember their calling in settings that are often difficult.

“It’s hard to be a Chaplain,” Ingles said. “Every Chaplain who is doing their ‘ministry of presence’ is on the front lines, regardless of your military rank or where you fit in the hierarchy of your civilian institution or organization. You may get the idea—or actually be told—that you are only there to fulfill an organizational responsibility. But always remember, the people you minister to and support know your value. As does God, who is ultimately who we serve.”

Ingles also led the Chaplains in round-table discussions of how COVID-19 has impacted their ministries over the past 15 months.

“We were all impacted in one form or another,” Ingles said.

Ingles is the EPC Chaplain Endorser and is a Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the West.

The Chaplains Workshop is part of the Leadership Institute, an equipping component of the annual General Assembly Meeting.


EPC Chaplain Endorser leverages Christmas lights display for local food bank


For the seventh consecutive year, EPC Chaplain Endorser Mark Ingles has used his home Christmas lights display to benefit the Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado.

On December 2, Fox21News in Colorado Springs publicized the effort with a “Cans for Christmas” feature.

Ingles’ efforts to help local families has grown significantly—in his first year of collecting non-perishable food in 2014, 165 pounds were dropped off. By 2018, the haul was nearly 1,650 pounds and last year he collected 2,200 pounds.


EPC Chaplain Endorser honors first responders with home light display


InglesBlueLights1EPC Chaplain Endorser Mark Ingles has washed his home in Colorado Springs, Colo., in blue light to honor first responders during the COVID-19 crisis. Ingles is a Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the West and a retired U.S. Air Force Chaplain.

InglesBlueLights2“It’s simply a show of support for everyone from local first responders to teachers, doctors, nurses, truckers, churches, food banks, members of the Corona Virus Task Force, and others for their incredibly hard work during this difficult time,” Ingles said. “I wanted to honor the wonderful people doing amazing things to keep us safe, supported, our kids taught, food brought to our stores, and so much more.”

Ingles noted that the LED lights consume the equivalent of a single 150-watt light bulb.

EPC hospital chaplain’s ministry during pandemic featured on Denver news outlet


On April 3, KDVR News in Denver, Colo., featured EPC Chaplain Michael Guthrie’s ministry to patients and staff of Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical center in Denver. The story is part of the Fox affiliate’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Guthrie is a Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the West.

EPC chaplain for Christian school requests prayer as coronavirus infects 40+ community members


Matthew Sullivan

Matthew Sullivan, an EPC Chaplain for a Christian school in Nashville, Tenn., is requesting prayer as more than 40 members of the school community have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) following a school fundraising event held earlier in March.

Sullivan, 52, has served as chaplain of The Covenant School for 10 years, where he is the Director of Campus Life and Bible teacher. The school is a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in the affluent Green Hills area of southern Nashville. Sullivan is a Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the Central South.

“We could use prayer here in Nashville. We have been hit very hard by the coronavirus, with over 30 positive cases recorded thus far in our little school,” Sullivan said by email on March 18. “Needless to say, there is a lot of ministry being done and still to do, as there is a lot of anxiety.”

In a follow-up message on March 22, he wrote that “we’re now looking at well over 40 positives” among adult staff, faculty, and parents at the school of about 160 students ranging from age 3 through sixth grade.

“We are all self-quarantining, as was recommended by the Metro Health Department,” he said, adding that “tons of texting, sharing of prayers, Scriptures, and encouragements” are being shared between students and their families, staff, and other supporters.

“Our social media is extremely active, too. We’ve created a hashtag #covenantstrong to help bind our community together.”

Sullivan reported that as of March 22, none of the individuals who has tested positive has become seriously ill.

“Our people have been amazing in their faith and resilience. Thank the Lord, no one has had serious symptoms,” he said. “Because of our size, our families are very well-connected and have banded together to not only take care of each other but to be a resource to their non-believing neighbors and friends. It is having an impact on our community.”

Sullivan noted that the school and church community had already mobilized for ministry efforts following recent tornadoes that inflicted widespread damage in and around Nashville.

“We were already working on recovery efforts that actually parlayed well into bracing for and creating avenues of care as the pandemic approached,” he said. “Pray for the Spirit of the Lord to bring peace to our families, and for us to be an example to the city of Nashville of the Body of Christ at work to soothe, heal, and bring wholeness.”

by Tim Yarbrough
EPConnection correspondent

Chaplains Work and Care Committee reviews resources, interviews chaplaincy candidates


CWCCMeeetingFebruary2020Meeting at the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando February 24-25, the EPC Chaplains Work and Care Committee (CWCC) discussed a variety of topics related to its oversight of the EPC’s chaplaincy ministry. More than 60 EPC-endorsed chaplains currently serve in a variety of military and civilian contexts.

Among other items on its agenda, the CWCC reviewed plans for this year’s Chaplains Workshop, to be held as part of the Leadership Institute at the 40th General Assembly; reviewed several resources provided for EPC chaplains in both the endorsement process and active ministry; and interviewed two candidates for EPC chaplaincy endorsement.

“Ordained, professional chaplains serve in some of the most challenging environments imaginable, such as hostile locations, palliative care for children facing serious or end-of-life conditions, and mass-casualty events,” said Mark Ingles, EPC Chaplain Endorser. “They also provide support in more joyful occasions like baptisms, worship, weddings, organizational invocations, and so much more—not to mention all the care and ministering that volunteer chaplains provide. It is truly an honor and joy to provide the avenue, guidance, support, and care to our chaplains in the field, as well as for those who are seeking to become an EPC chaplain.” Ingles is a Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the West.

Members of the CWCC are Ted Tromble (Chairman), Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes; Bruce Alexander, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the East; Karen Bolte, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest; Tim Foster, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Central South; Glen Holman, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic; Jennifer Prechter, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; David Snyder, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic; Richard Swedberg, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the West; and Brad Yorton, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest.

For more information on EPC chaplaincy ministries, see

Colorado Springs media help EPC Chaplain Endorser spread Christmas cheer for local food bank


For the sixth consecutive year, EPC Chaplain Endorser Mark Ingles has leveraged his home Christmas display to benefit the Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado. Local media outlets have taken notice. KOAA News5, KKTV 11 News, and Fox21 News all broadcast Ingles’ efforts, and he will appear live on Fox21’s “Living Local” program on December 26 at 9:00 a.m. MST.

To watch “Living Local” online, go to

Ingles’ initiative to help local families through the food bank has grown significantly—in his first year of collecting non-perishable food in 2014, 165 pounds were dropped off. By 2018, the haul was nearly 1,650 pounds. His goal this year is 2,000 pounds.


2019 Leadership Institute: Chaplain’s Workshop


GA2019LI3-ChaplainsWorkshopIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Biblical Leadership and Decision Making, Michael Moyles asked some poignant questions of those attending the annual Chaplains Workshop.

“What is important to you? What do you use day-to-day to make important decisions? Are you are making life-changing, irreversible decisions based on mistaken priorities? What would it take to change it?”

A five-time brain cancer survivor who has undergone 10 brain surgeries, 42 rounds of radiation, and 29 rounds of chemotherapy, Moyles noted that his wife has sat in a waiting room for 11 hours, 10 times, praying.

“I have undergone three major surgeries—including brain surgery—in the past two months. My wife was adamant that I not take this engagement today, because her priority is my health. Now, I am with my tribe here—speaking to and being with chaplains and military—so I made it a priority to be here. But I have every expectation that she will be proven right tomorrow.”

A retired Air Force Colonel, Moyles is a popular Christian speaker, teacher, and writer.


EPC Chaplain Graham Baily awarded USAF Global Strike Command ‘outstanding officer chaplain’


GrahamBailyCapt. Graham Baily, an EPC-ordained chaplain assigned to the U.S. Air Force 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., has received the annual Edwin R. Chess Award as the outstanding Company Grade Officer Chaplain within the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC).

The award is not the first for Baily and his ministry team. Past recognition includes the Charles R. Meier Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of an Air Force Chaplain Assistant, and an Outstanding Religious Support Team award.

“Graham is a tremendous example of a chaplain who goes far above and beyond in his ministry to the Airmen and many others he supports at Whiteman,” said Mark Ingles, EPC Chaplain Endorser. “A few months ago I went to Whiteman to visit Graham and experience his ministry firsthand. He was the project officer for the National Prayer Luncheon, and was hosting the Air Force Chief of Chaplains as their guest speaker. The event received rave reviews from all corners—including the Chief. That is just another example of the impact Graham is having.”

Baily and his religious support team provide and accommodate for the first amendment right of the Airmen and families of Whiteman AFB to freely exercise their faith and receive pastoral care. Baily said that that is their official mission, but he has a second variation in mind as well.

“The way it works itself out in my life and in my work is that we are here to love Airmen,” he said. “Coming alongside them in good times and bad to partner with them in their own perseverance as they strive to become the best versions of themselves.”

After separating from the Air Force as a Senior Airman in 2000, Baily attended college and then graduate school. He then became a pastor. While working on a sermon in 2006, he paused to reflect on some of the difficulties in his own life as a young pastor, husband, and father.

“I just sat and talked with God for a while,” Baily said. “I asked Him, ‘Where is this journey of ministry taking me and my family? Is this the right place for me to continue serving?’”

While reaching into a desk drawer to retrieve a notebook, he found an Air Force coin that had been given to him by a chaplain before he left the Air Force.

“Holding it in my hand, there was just this moment of clarity,” Baily recalled. “When it became very clear to me that this community—the community of people in the United States Air Force—was the community that I wanted to serve in some way.”

He said he did not know what that service would look like at first, but that it eventually began to take shape.

Baily earned a Master of Divinity degree and began to serve as an USAF Reserve chaplain in 2009. He also continued to work as a civilian pastor in local congregations. In 2012, he rejoined the active-duty Air Force to serve Airmen and their families.

Since joining team Whiteman, Baily has made a lasting impact in the areas of leadership, base and community involvement, and in his strides to continually self-improve.

In the last year alone, he piloted a $135,000 renovation to the base ministry center. He also volunteered more than 220 hours within the community as an athletic coach/mentor and academic lead for resilience outreach at Gordon College.

Baily became only the second Air Force Chaplain to be admitted to the Clinical Pastoral Education program, through which he learned to respond as a minister to traumatic emergencies and engage in spiritual triage in a hospital setting. He recalled the first trauma he responded to—a severe burn victim who had survived a house fire.

“I’ll tell you,” he said. “The time spent at the hospital has really transformed the way that I engage with people.”

He described his approach now as trauma-informed ministry.

“When I engage with people now, I am far more mindful of what they’ve been through and what they might be going through,” he said. “I have a better sense of how to help them recover from traumatic events.”

He described how that knowledge applies to his work as a chaplain within the Air Force.

“More people than we realize have experienced some type of traumatic event in their lives and they carry that around with them. Sometimes they experience that before they join the military and bring all of that with them.”

As examples, Baily cited abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, car accidents, and natural disasters. Since completing the CPE program, he has invested more than 200 hours responding to Team Whiteman during various traumatic crises.

“People who have experienced trauma need to feel safe,” he said. “They need to be able to mourn and they need to be able to reconnect in ways that are meaningful. Being mindful of that process toward recovery is important.”

Baily said the Chess Award, while a great honor, pales in comparison to the reward he takes from his work helping the people around him heal.

“There’s no way to briefly sum up what it’s like to journey with an Airman as they become their best selves,” he said. “As I guide them, I am also becoming my best self. I have been refined by the community that I care so deeply for.”

Chaplains Workshop offers helps for life-ministry balance, open to all Leadership Institute attendees


GA2019ThemeArt-WebBannerThe Chaplains Workshop track of the fifth annual Leadership Institute will feature biblical leadership and decision making insights from retired U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Moyles, and the impact of misplaced identity on the family from U.S. Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife, Heather. The Turners’ story was portrayed in the acclaimed 2018 movie “Indivisible.”


Michael Moyles

A five-time brain cancer survivor, Moyles also will offer perspectives on perseverance and pursuing God through his experience with 10 brain surgeries, 42 rounds of radiation, and 29 rounds of chemotherapy.

The Workshop will be held on Tuesday, June 18, at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood, Colo.

“In many ways, Chaplains are the ‘unsung heroes’ of ministry,” said Mark Ingles, EPC’s Chaplain Endorser and himself a retired Air Force Chaplain. “In many cases they serve alone in a secular setting, and of course when military Chaplains are deployed to conflict zones they face daily life-and-death situations that most pastors can only imagine.”

Ingles added the purpose of the annual Chaplains Workshop is to provide practical ministry helps as well as an opportunity for connection, networking, and camaraderie among peers—noting that the EPC currently has more than 60 Chaplains serving in both military and civilian roles.

“While we design the event for our Chaplains,” Ingles said, “the speakers and topics are very relevant for all ministers and we hope that many pastors and other General Assembly attendees will join us.”

IndivisibleThe film “Indivisible,” starring Sarah Drew and Justin Bruening, is based on Darren and Heather Turner’s experiences before, during, and after his deployment to Iraq in 2006. Fresh from seminary and basic training, newly commissioned Army Chaplain Turner and his family arrive at Fort Stewart, Ga. Before they can even unpack, Darren is deployed. Heather is left taking care of their three young children alone, as well as serving the families of the other deployed soldiers.

An extended deployment and deeply etched battle scars result in a long-awaited homecoming that is much different than anticipated. Carrying burdens the other can’t comprehend, the Turners must decide if they’re willing to face one more battle: the fight to save their marriage.


Darren and Heather Turner

Following a showing of the movie, the Turners will share about their marriage and family journey as depicted in the film.

What the movie doesn’t show—but that the Turners said was at the heart of their near-divorce— was the issue of identity. Darren was not prepared for the temptations of Army life as an active duty Chaplain, including a rugged mission, awards and badges, courageous annual reports, and ministry on the front lines of combat. At the same time, Heather needed Darren to engage at home, but he went where the praise was—the Army. As she grew more frustrated, he ran more toward his job. By God’s grace alone, both of their hearts were broken and healing could finally begin.

In the workshop’s afternoon session, the Turners will discuss their journey of recovering, believing, and realizing who Christ says they were, are, and will be.

In Moyles’ sessions on Tuesday morning, he will emphasize the need for a biblical worldview and well-established life priorities as the basis for biblical leadership and decision making.

Moyles is a nationally requested Christian speaker, teacher, and writer/blogger. Prior to his retirement in 2017 after 25 years of active duty, he served as Chief of Information Technology for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) at Peterson AFB and Cheyenne Mountain, Colo.

Click here for more information about the Chaplains Workshop.

Click here for more information about the 39th General Assembly, including daily schedules, links to online registration, and more.

EPC Chaplain Endorser uses Christmas display to benefit local food bank


For the fifth consecutive year, EPC Chaplain Endorser Mark Ingles has leveraged his home Christmas display to benefit the Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado. In 2016, he collected approximately 650 pounds of canned and dry goods from people who stopped in front of his house in Colorado Springs, Colo., to view the display. In 2017, donations exceeded his goal of 1,000 pounds by almost 40 percent, and more than doubled the previous year’s amount.

“Last year I received 1,387 pounds of food—which was tremendous—and this year I’m shooting for over 1,500 pounds of food,” Ingles said.

Ingles’ work has captured the attention of local media outlets.

KOAA News 5 in Colorado Springs broadcast a feature story on December 12.

Fox 21 News in Colorado Springs also highlighted Ingles’ efforts on its broadcast on December 12.

EPC Chaplain Endorser participates in religious freedom award presentation


EPC Chaplain Endorser Mark Ingles with Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo), recipient of the 2018 Chaplain Alliance Torchbearer Award

The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Freedom presented its 2018 Torchbearer Award to Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) for her work in protecting the religious liberties of all military personnel and the chaplains that support them. Mark Ingles, EPC Chaplain Endorser, is a founding member of the Chaplain Alliance and attended the September presentation in Washington, D.C.

“It was amazing to share the room with Rep. Hartzler,” Ingles said. “She so strongly advocates for religious freedom, and being there when she received this honor was so moving. It was an evening to remember.”

Hartzler chairs the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Armed Service Committee, and also is chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Values Action Team, a group of lawmakers dedicated to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

Col. Phil Wright, now-retired U.S. Army Chaplain and Director of the Chaplains Alliance, said Hartzler “has strongly defended the military’s vocal support for our first freedoms and decisively taken action when the religious liberty of service personnel has been threatened. No one in our armed forces should be denied the ability to exercise the very freedoms they have volunteered to defend, even with their life. Her commitment not only benefits our chaplains and our armed forces, but their families, communities, and the entire country.”

Other who attended the presentation included Sen. Roy Blunt (R- Mo.), co-chair of the Senate Values Action Team; Michael Berry, Director of Military Affairs for the First Liberty Institute; Emile Kao, Director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society; Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.); as well as numerous other denominational Chaplain Endorsers.

The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty is an organization of chaplain endorsers (the faith groups that provide chaplains for the U.S. military and other agencies needing chaplains). The endorsers in the Chaplain Alliance collectively endorse more than two-thirds of the 5,500 military chaplains serving in the United States Armed Forces.

38th General Assembly celebrates EPC chaplains


GA2018LI-ChaplainLineupMark Ingles, EPC Chaplain Endorser and Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the West, introduced 25 of the denomination’s chaplains to attendees of the 38th General Assembly at Hope Church in Cordova, Tenn., on June 21. He reported that the number of EPC chaplains has increased from 36 in 2012 to 65 in 2018.

“These dedicated men and women are called by God to serve outside the local church,” Ingles said, noting that chaplains can many times feel isolated in their ministries.

“They often work for a secular institution that doesn’t always appreciate the work that they are doing. So we need to pray for them, care for them, love them, and support them.”

Chaplains in attendance at the 38th Assembly were (left to right):

Jason Riggs
Clinical Chaplain, W.G. (Bill) Hefner Veterans Administration Medical Center
Salisbury, N.C.

Lt. Cmdr. Tim Foster, USNR
Command Chaplain, USS Fitzgerald
Pascagoula, Miss.
(Also serves as Senior Pastor of Highland Heights EPC in Memphis, Tenn.)

Ron Pierce
Chaplain, Mobile County Sheriff’s Office and FBI Mobile Field Office
Mobile, Ala.

Jennifer Prechter
Chaplain, Pediatric Palliative Care Team, Arnold Palmer Medical Center
Orlando, Florida

Bob Claus
Acute Care Chaplain, Dignity Health Care
Phoenix, Ariz.

Lt. Col. John Torres
Deputy Wing Chaplain, 105th Airlift Wing, Stewart Air National Guard Base
Newburgh, N.Y.
Also serves as Pastor of Goodwill Church, Montgomery, N.Y.

Lt. Col. Marty Fields
Wing Chaplain, 172nd Airlift Wing
Jackson, Miss.
(Also serves as Senior Pastor of Grace Chapel Madison in Madison, Miss.)

Scott Rash
Chaplain, Liberty Hospital Hospice
Liberty, Mo.

Kate Huddelson
Chaplain, University of Kansas Medical Center
Kansas City, Kan.

Lt. Josh Schatzle
Chaplain, U.S. Navy Reserve
St. Louis, Mo.
(Also serves as Pastor of Hope Church, Carbondale, Ill.)

 Maj. David Horton
Branch Chief, 86th Air Wing Chaplain, Ramstein Air Force Base
Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany

Capt. B.J. Newman
Chaplain, Ohio Air National Guard
Dayton, Ohio
(Also serves as Adult Discipleship and Care Pastor for Kirkmont Presbyterian Church in Beavercreek, Ohio)

Sam Adamson
Chief Chaplain, Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Health Care System
Los Angeles, Calif.

Capt. Bryan Knedgen
Battalion Chaplain, 406th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, U.S. Army Reserves
Ann Arbor, Mich.

Capt. Patrick Cobb
Medical Professional Brigade Chaplain, Army Medical Defense Department Center and School, Joint Base San Antonio
Ft. Sam Houston, Texas

James Harris
Chaplain Candidate, USAF Reserves
(Also serves as Director of Community Groups and College Ministries for Reynolda EPC Village Campus, Winston-Salem, N.C.)

Ted Tromble
Staff Chaplain, Aurora BayCare Medical Center
Green Bay, Wisc.

Lt. Col. John Rhodes
Chaplain, Mississippi Wing Civil Air Patrol, DeSoto Composite Squadron
Olive Branch, Miss.

Maj. John Richards
Chaplain, U.S. Army Reserve
Belle Chase, La.

Maj. Jason Kim
Deputy Wing Chaplain, Nellis Air Force Base
Las Vegas, Nev.

Capt. Graham Baily
USAF Chaplain, Whiteman Air Force Base
Knob Noster, Mo.

Helen Franssell
Chaplain, Capital Caring Hospice, Northern Virginia Region
Falls Church, Va.

Nick Tyler
Battalion Chaplain, 1030th Transportation Battalion, Virginia National Guard
Gate City, Va.

Ross O’Dell
Chaplain, Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources, Northeast Indiana Region
Columbia City, Ind.
(Also serves as Pastor of Trinity EPC in Columbia City, Ind.)


2018 Leadership Institute: Religious Support and Free Exercise


GA2018LI-ReligiousSupportIn the 2018 Leadership Institute seminar Religious Support and Free Exercise, Daniel Blomberg discussed some of the legal challenges faced by chaplains, ministers, and churches in the current cultural climate.

“There are a lot of folks who want to bang the drum about the culture wars,” he said, “and one side of the conversation is that there are people who know that if they can make you afraid you will give up and not fight. But it’s important to remember that if you don’t protect those religious beliefs you don’t have—or may even abhor—you can’t stand for religious liberty as a whole. So there are debates, but if we have the right understanding of religious liberty, we can turn down the temperature.”

Blomberg’s seminar was part of the annual EPC Chaplain’s Workshop. He is Senior Counsel for Becket Law in Washington, D.C., a leading religious liberty law firm.


EPC chaplain Tim Mallard featured in PBS documentary to air February 13



“We’ll Meet Again,” a documentary series airing on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) will feature the story of EPC chaplain Tim Mallard’s encounter with a Navy chaplain following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon. The segment is part of the episode, “Heroes of 9/11,” scheduled for broadcast and web stream on Tuesday, February 13, at 8:00 p.m. EST (broadcast times may vary by location).

In 2001, Mallard was assigned as a Department of the Army Intern in the Office of the Chief of Chaplains at the Pentagon. Following the attack, a chaplain’s tent was set up 50 yards from the impact site.

“All I did for days was walk around wearing my cross and people would walk up in pain, needing care,” Mallard told the United Methodist News Service in an article posted February 8.

On the morning of September 15, Mallard went to the chaplain’s tent and collapsed in the back, overcome with his own grief.

Capt. Doug Waite, a United Methodist chaplain serving in the U.S. Navy, saw Mallard and knew he needed help. He stopped, then hugged and prayed with young Mallard. The two men never saw each other again until the producers of “We’ll Meet Again” reunited them.

Mallard said Waite’s compassion that day has been critical for the next 16 years of his ministry, as he has gone on to serve multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“The thing that made the most difference was when I looked up and saw his face, just the kindness and Christian compassion really touched me and encouraged me,” Mallard said. “I was able to go out and keep doing my ministry because of his ministry to me.”

Mallard now serves as director for recruiting and endorser relations, headquarters, Department of the Army in Washington.

Click here for more information about the PBS documentary series.

(with additional reporting from Kathy Gilbert, UMNS)

EPC Chaplain Endorser uses Christmas display to benefit local food bank


MarkInglesChristmasDisplay2017For the fourth consecutive year, EPC Chaplain Endorser Mark Ingles has leveraged his home Christmas display to benefit the Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado. In 2016, he collected approximately 650 pounds of canned and dry goods from people who stopped in front of his house in Colorado Springs, Colo., to view the display. His goal this year is 1,000 pounds.

“It’s an opportunity to give back to the community,” Ingles said. “More than just the beauty of seeing the display and adding that to people’s season of Christmas; it’s a tangible way of being able to have people drop off food. They’re giving to an incredibly wonderful cause.”

KOAA News 5 in Colorado Springs—the region’s highest-rated newscast—broadcast a 2-minute feature on Ingles’ efforts on December 12. The station posted a separate, 3-minute followup story on their Facebook page on December 16, in which Ingles shared that he was already halfway to the donation goal.

Click here to view the December 12 story.

Click here to view the December 16 feature.

Goodwill EPC (N.Y.) mourns two members lost in Mississippi military plane crash


Gunnery Sgt. Mark Hopkins (left) and Staff Sgt. Joshua Snowden (right).

Two of the 16 U.S. service members killed when a U.S. military plane crashed in Mississippi in July were members of Goodwill Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, N.Y. Gunnery Sgt. Mark Hopkins, 34, and Staff Sgt. Joshua Snowden, 31, were serving in the U.S. Marine Corps when the KC-130 refueling tanker crashed July 10 near Itta Bena, Miss., about 85 miles north of Jackson.

John Torres, Pastor of Goodwill EPC, said the two Marines were well-respected members of the congregation.

“Josh was faithful in his attendance, and Mark was also very active in the church,” he said, noting that Hopkins was “very well known in his unit as a strong Christian. Mark fostered a sense of community wherever he went, and my prayer is that as a church we will honor him by modeling that as we minister to his family.”

He said Snowden, a Texas native, “always had a bit of home in him, whether it was his hat or his truck. Words can’t express how much these men will be missed—not only by their families of course, but by our church.”

Torres said Brian Hill, EPC Chaplain and Pastor of the nearby Circleville (N.Y.) Evangelical Presbyterian Church, also has been ministering to the community following the accident.

“I am so thankful for Brian, who has been helping the families and community here,” Torres said.  “I think this tragedy has reminded us that our soldiers don’t have to be deployed to be in harm’s way, so I pray that all of our military chaplains would be in the best possible position to minister on their respective bases.”

Snowden is survived by his parents, one sister, and four brothers. Click here for a full obituary notice.

Hopkins is survived by his wife, Patricia, and three children: Wyatt, 2, Abby, 1, and Lewis, 5 months. Click here for a full obituary notice.

The aircraft was part of the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y. The squadron is a reserve unit of the U.S. Marine Corps. At the time of the accident, the flight from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina was transporting personnel and equipment to Naval Air Field El Centro, Calif.

EPC chaplains serve in a variety of ministries


GA2017ChaplainsIntroductionMark Ingles, EPC Chaplain Endorser and Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the West, introduced the denomination’s chaplains to attendees of the 37th General Assembly in Sacramento, Calif.

Ingles noted that a chaplain can be defined as a spiritual representative attached to a secular institution.

“Chaplains provide calm in the midst of crisis and chaos,” he said. “They are on the front lines of ministry and at times carry the weight that falls on first responders. They make a difference emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.”

Among the 60 individuals who serve as EPC chaplains in settings around the world, 16 were in attendance at the Assembly on June 22 (pictured left to right):

  • Dana Perreard
    Campus Pastor and Associate Chaplain, University of Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa.
  • Jason Riggs
    G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center, Salisbury, N.C.
  • John Torres
    105th Airlift Wing, Stewart Air National Guard Base, Newburgh, N.Y.
  • Daniel Situka
    Vitas Hospice Services, Houston, Texas
  • Helen Fransell
    Capitol Caring Hospice, Aldie, Va.
  • Karen Bolte
    Sutter Care at Home Hospice, Sacramento, Calif.
  • Josh Schatzle
    U.S. Navy Reserve Recruiting Command, Carbondale, Ill.
  • Tim Foster
    U.S. Navy Reserve, Cordova, Tenn., supporting U.S. Navy Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, San Diego, Calif.
  • Jennifer Prechter
    Arnold Palmer Children’s Medical Center, Orlando, Fla.
  • J. Werner
    50th Space Wing, Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • John Richards
    301st Regional Support Group, Butler, Pa.
  • Dave Snyder
    U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, Warren, Mich.
  • Bryan Knedgen
    406th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Ted Tromble
    Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Green Bay, Wis.
  • Graham Baily
    509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.
  • Jason Kim
    Being assigned to Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

Also attending the Assembly but not pictured are:

  • Marty Carpenter, Candidate Under Care, Sanger, Calif.
  • Linda Thompson, Candidate Under Care, Northville, Mich.


EPC Chaplain’s Workshop kicks off GA week’s activities



Renowned first-person narrative presenter Dick Stenbakken of tells participants at the 2017 Chaplains Workshop the story of Henry Gerecke, U.S. Army chaplain assigned to minister to the German High Command—21 Nazis leaders awaiting trial at Nuremburg following World War II, including Hermann Goering and Albert Speer.

“What do you do when God opens doors you didn’t even know existed?” Stenbakken said while portraying Gerecke telling his life story two weeks after the trial and subsequent executions of his parishioners. “Ministry is where we find it, and ministry is where we are found.”


Dick Stenbakken’s renowned first-person narratives open to all during GA Chaplains Workshop


Col. Dick Stenbakken, U.S. Army (Retired)

Imagine that you have been assigned as the U.S. Army chaplain to the leaders of the German High Command on trial for war crimes following World War II. How would you minister to men who had intentionally, willfully, and systematically murdered millions of people?

Now imagine that you are on board the troop ship S.S. Dorchester, torpedoed in the North Atlantic by a German U-boat in 1943 and immortalized by the selfless actions of four Army chaplains who gave their life jackets so others might survive. As recipient of one of those life vests, how do you respond?

Retired Army Col. Dick Stenbakken will portray these two individuals in first-person narratives from 9:15-10:30 a.m. and 1:15-2:30 p.m. as part of the annual EPC Chaplain’s Workshop on in conjunction with the 37th General Assembly in Sacramento, Calif. The Workshop will be held on Tuesday, June 20, in the Wells Chapel at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church. Stenbakken’s presentations are open to all on a space-available basis.

In “The Nuremberg Chaplain,” Stenbakken portrays Henry Gerecke, chaplain to men who the world labeled as monsters, parishioners with whom he walked to the gallows.

In “The Dorchester Story,” Stenbakken recounts the S.S. Dorchester and the chaplain who gave him the chance to live.

Stenbakken served 24 years as an Army Chaplain, including one year of combat duty in Vietnam, and four years as the director of Family Life Ministries for the Army Chief of Chaplains Office. Following his retirement from the Army, he directed Chaplaincy Ministries on a world-wide basis for his denominational headquarters. He has presented to the U.S. Senate, the Pentagon, major health care organizations, leadership conferences, college campus settings, and a variety of military and civilian congregations across North America, Africa, India, Asia, Europe, Japan, and Germany. He holds four Master’s Degrees and a Doctorate in Education. For more information about his first-person narratives, see

For more information about the 37th General Assembly, see For details about the Chaplain’s Workshop, click here or contact Mark Ingles, EPC Chaplain Endorser, at