Tuning in to Synod 2012 was so important to Chaplain (Captain) Richard Hill that he started weeks earlier getting security clearances to be able to watch the webcast from Afghanistan.
Chaplain (Captain) Richard Hill tuned in to synod from Afghanistan.
Hill, who is a member of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Spring, Texas, is in the middle of a deployment in southern Ghazni Province as the Battalion Chaplain for the 307th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, based out of Fort Bragg, N.C.
Hill typically comes to the chaplains’ conference that precedes synod, but this year was unable to because of his deployment. “I regret missing those opportunities,” he said, “so I wanted to ‘attend’ synod via webcast so I could in some way participate in denominational activities this year. Synod gives me a bigger picture view of the church so I can better understand and participate in the formal process of church governance.”
But tuning into synod wasn’t as simple as booting up his computer. “There is not an Internet structure out here, so things that eat up a lot of bandwidth are restricted to prevent the system from getting bogged down.”
Hill had to submit a request to be allowed video streaming for the duration of synod, which went through his battalion, up to his brigade, and then on up to the general in charge of Regional Command (East), Afghanistan. “It took a few weeks to get it through all the right people, and then a little testing to make sure my account was properly set up,” he said. “I was allowed this temporary exception because the Army takes very seriously the need for a chaplain to be in good standing with his or her endorser. Had I not been deployed, my commander would have sent me to the chaplain’s conference and Synod 2012.”
Hill, a ministry associate, said attendance is an essential part of his personal and professional growth. “As a representative of Christ through the CRC, and as a chaplain serving the U.S. Army, I desire to always push toward more effectiveness in service and ministry.”