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Two Simple Suggestions

Forty-one years ago, next month I was appointed chaplain to the Columbia Police Department. My blog is more practical than scholarly, but I hope my experience can be helpful to some of our younger chaplains. I have two simple suggestions which will enhance any chaplain's ministry. The best investment of a police chaplain's time will be in the ride-along program. Countless former and retired officers have told me how meaningful my presence was to them and fellow officers over the span of four decades. Ride often and with as many different officers as possible. Public prayers at special events are important but the ride-along will give you the "most bang for the buck." If you are a fire chaplain, you will want to show up at the various station houses regularly and obtain permission from the chief to ride in the emergency vehicles on calls if possible.

My second suggestion is to expand your ministry to include all retired officers and police officer widows. These folks will value your ministry knowing that they have not been forgotten. I make home visits to several retirees and widows every few weeks and maintain contact by e-mail or phone to the out-of-area residents.

There is no substitute for your presence in the lives of your officers and their families.

Clyde Waters, Chaplain

Columbia Police Department

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Phone: 803-900-5817

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