Chaplains in the Christian Reformed Church serve beyond the walls of the church in diverse, pluralistic settings in the United States and Canada as well as in Iraq, Italy, and South Korea. Once a year they come together to grow, share, and learn from each other’s experience. The 2018 Chaplains Training Conference, with the theme ‘Coming Home,’ gathered in Grand Rapids, Mich., in June. Along with participating in workshops and fellowship, they also marked the eternal homecoming of nine chaplains over the past year, including former chaplaincy directors Hal Bode and Herm Keizer.
A number of the chaplains present had attended Keizer’s military burial service at Arlington National Cemetery on May 23 and spoke of the event.
“The chapel service was meaningful and heartfelt,” said Gloria Kroeze, a fellow CRC chaplain. “The processional with the military guard followed by the six-horse-drawn caisson bearing the flag-draped casket and the riderless horse was awe-inspiring.” The burial included the folding and presentation of the flag, a gun salute, and a bagpiper. “The interment was an amazingly honoring event for an amazingly honorable man,” Kroeze said.
The conference also celebrated milestones of service, including the presentation of an American flag to Chaplain Major InSoon Hoagland on her retirement from the U.S. Army. The CRC’s first ordained female military chaplain, Hoagland served in Army installations from South Carolina to South Korea, Texas, and Kansas, as well as in two year-long deployments to Iraq. All CRC military chaplains in the room stood at attention as CRC Army Chaplain Lt. Col. Scott Koeman presented the flag.
Attending the event, which was orchestrated by the CRC’s Chaplaincy and Care Ministry, were 138 chaplains and spouses as well as 17 seminary and clinical pastoral education students.