25 Men and Women Endorsed for Chaplaincy

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Council on Endorsement has endorsed 25 more men and women as chaplains and pastoral counselors, the largest group since the CBF began endorsement in 1998.

The new group includes eight hospital chaplains, eight military chaplains, one pastoral counselor, two clinical pastoral education residents, one supervisor-in-training and five endorsees to professional certification organizations.

It also includes six ordained women. CBF has endorsed 36 ordained women as chaplains and pastoral counselors, representing 22 percent of its 163 total endorsees.

Endorsement of the six women comes in the wake of the early February decision by trustees of the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board that the agency's Chaplains Commission will no longer endorse ordained women as chaplains.

The endorsements affirm CBF's commitment to helping men and women find their place of service, says George Pickle, CBF's associate coordinator for chaplaincy and pastoral counseling. "CBF affirms that chaplains and pastoral counselors have been called by God and gifted by the Spirit of God for ministry in the Kingdom of God," Pickle says.

"CBF gladly endorses ordained women who are qualified to serve as chaplains," says CBF Coordinator Daniel Vestal. The Fellowship is privileged to partner with churches as they ordain God-called women to ministry, Vestal adds.

Ann Miller Redmond, director of pastoral care at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, believes chaplaincy is the ministry of the church. "Ordination is our mutual accountability covenant," says Redmond, an ordained CBF-endorsed chaplain. "It's not about gender or power, but effective pastoral care for those in great need of God's loving touch."

Chaplains and pastoral counselors "are present with people in their trauma, drama and celebrations of life," Pickle emphasizes. "Each CBF chaplain and pastoral counselor is a presence of Christ in a variety of specialized ministries.

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