The annual CEEC-Province USA Chaplaincy Conference took place from June 5-8, 2018 at Presbyterian & Reformed Ministry International (PRMI) in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Seven chaplains, representing ministry to hospitals, correctional facilities, and all branches of the military, were present, along with the Rev. Canon Russ Hale, Chief Endorsing Officer, and Bp. Ryan Mackey, Deputy Endorsing Officer/Liaison to the Presiding Bishop. Additionally, four spouses, a daughter of one of the chaplains, and employees, interns, and friends of PRMI joined our group at various times throughout the week.
The conference consisted of times of corporate worship, group teaching and training sessions focused on inner healing, deliverance, and aspects of identity formation led by PRMI’s executive director, Rev. Brad Long, Q&A sessions with Fr. Hale and Bp. Mackey, and times of fellowship. Highlights from the week included:
- A session focused on walking out of personal woundedness to minister to others facilitated by Rev. Long and Fr. Hale.
- Lunch and an impromptu session with PRMI ministry partner Bishop Abraham Yel Nhial, Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Aweil from the Episcopal Church of Sudan (South Sudan).
- The ordination into apostolic succession of Rev. L. Clifton Edwards (CPT US Army).
Fr. Colin Munroe, who currently serves as Senior Chaplain at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina, had this reflection on the gathering:
“Too often, retreats and similar efforts proffer vague descriptions that imply that fellowship, for the purpose of spiritual growth and edification, is a holiday treat where the goal is to have as much fun as possible, like a church youth program heading off to the nearest summer amusement park. This retreat was no such cliché. It was intense. Trust and truth were the lingua franca; the guidance of the Holy Spirit essential as a foundation for understanding and action; the fellowship based not on a superficial ‘clubbiness’ or cradle-Christianity, but on the rock of faith found the hard way, through pain, suffering, and confusion, and finally, surrender. Being a Christian these days is not for the faint-hearted, the easily discouraged, or those with a thin, entitled skin. I was blessed to be with men and women who understand this and live their lives as they are called to do, regardless of obstacles, but who also understand and share the joy and camaraderie of a path shared. The retreat didn’t just make an impression, it re-shaped me.”