The United Church of Christ coin symbolizes the covenant relationship between the church and its chaplains serving in the Armed Forces, Department of Veterans Affairs and Federal Bureau of Prisons. It is presented as a mark of trust and an expression of gratitude.
The seal of the UCC is imprinted on one side of the coin. Around the seal is a sunburst, signifying that our church's inclusive expression of the Gospel is to "shine forth" in the chaplain's ministry. The words called, chosen, and sent forth to serve remind a chaplain that (s)he is called by God to this specialized ministry, chosen to represent the United Church of Christ, and sent forth to be God's servant in the service of others.
The reverse side of the coin bears the seals of the government entities to which the UCC chaplains are endorsed. In the center of the coin is a globe, surrounded by compass points, symbolizing that these ministries are provided in the U.S. and abroad. The words of appreciation on the outer ring acknowledge that government chaplains serve both God and country, creating a relationship that must always be held in dynamic tension.
Order for Reaffirming the Covenant between a Pastor and Congregation upon return of a pastor from service as a chaplain. A number of military chaplains endorsed by the United Church of Christ serve in the National Guard or Reserves. Some of these chaplains are also local church pastors. For the past several years, a number of these pastors have been mobilized for lengthy deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan. Once their deployments are over, the chaplains usually return to their parishes to resume their ministries. Just as they go through a period of readjustment as they rejoin their families, they also need to readjust to being pastors again. It is important to understand this, and to recognize that it's part of the relationship between the pastor/chaplain and the church.
Chaplain Deris Rice, an Army Reserve chaplain who served in Iraq, worked with the Rev. Jeanny House, his Associate Conference Minister (Northwest Association, Wisconsin Conference), to produce a liturgy that would help reestablish his relationship with his congregation. The edited version of this liturgy, available on this page, is suitable for use by other congregations. We are grateful to Chaplain Rice and Rev. House for their original liturgy and for granting permission to offer the edited version for your use.