Category Archives: Chaplains

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


Hopkins-Snowdon

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.

#epc2017ga

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


GA2017ChaplainsWorkshop

Renowned first-person narrative presenter Dick Stenbakken of www.biblefaces.com 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.”

#epc2017ga

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


DickStenbakken

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 www.biblefaces.com.

For more information about the 37th General Assembly, see www.epc.org/ga2017. For details about the Chaplain’s Workshop, click here or contact Mark Ingles, EPC Chaplain Endorser, at epcendorser@yahoo.com.

FirstPersonNarratives

Bud Sparling, 2001 EPC Moderator, dies at 79


budsparlingDarryl E. “Bud” Sparling, Moderator of the 21st General Assembly, died on December 4 in Denver, Colo. He was 79.

In addition to serving as Moderator in 2001, Sparling was a former member of the Permanent Judicial Commission and the Chaplains Work and Care Committee. He was also part of the committee that rewrote the Book of Discipline, which was ratified by the 17th General Assembly.

Following service in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, Sparling entered Princeton Theological Seminary in August 1965. Upon graduation in 1969, he was ordained by the Presbyterian Church (USA) and returned to active duty as an Army Chaplain, a role in which he served assignments in the United States, South Korea, and Germany.

He was received by the EPC Presbytery of the West in 1982 when he was serving at Faith Presbyterian Church in Aurora, Colo. He later helped plant Covenant Community Presbyterian Church in Aurora, Colo., and served as Associate Pastor of Parker Presbyterian Church in Parker, Colo. In addition to his service at the local church, he and his wife, Carol, served with Youth for Christ and EPC World Outreach.

Sparling also was an adjunct professor of Denver Seminary, where he taught Presbyterian Polity and facilitated a required spiritual formation group for students.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Carol; sons Matson and Bryan; daughter Meg; eight grandchildren; and a sister, Patricia Sparling Herber.

A memorial service will be held at Parker Evangelical Presbyterian Church on December 17. Burial with full military honors will be at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver on December 19.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Sparling’s memory be made to Parker Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 9030 Miller Road, Parker, CO 80138; or Christ Episcopal Church, 2950 S. University Blvd., Denver, CO 80210.

Christmas decorations a ministry for EPC Chaplain Endorser


MarkInglesChristmasEPC Chaplain Endorser Mark Ingles was the lead story on KOAA News5 in Colorado Springs on December 25. He uses his Christmas lights display to benefit a local food bank.

“They surprised me on the 23rd when they came to my door to film my place, interview me, and also people driving by to see it,” Ingles said. “I was even more surprised when it was the lead story on the news Christmas night; that was so cool!”

Click here to watch the 2-minute feature story.

January 11 followup: The Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado reports that Mark collected 315 lbs. of food—enough for 260 meals. See www.careandsharefb.blogspot.com/2016/01/lingering-holiday-awesomeness.html

EPC Chaplain Timothy Mallard receives Ph.D.


Timothy Mallard

Timothy Mallard

Col. Timothy S. Mallard, Command Chaplain at the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon (Ga.) received the Ph.D. in Christian Ethics from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Lampeter, Wales, on July 10. His dissertation examines Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ecclesiology as a construct for the praxis of contemporary public theology, and further analyzes the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps as a model for this effort within democratic polities.

Mallard is the EPC’s senior ranking chaplain and is beginning a term on the Chaplains Work and Care Committee this year.

Congratulations, Dr. Mallard!