On Sunday, 23 April 2017, our Rector, Nathan Wilson Ferrell, took the oath of office to become a Lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserves. The Navy has a dire need for Chaplains (active and reserve duty) and, in particular, the Navy has no reserve Chaplains in the Maine or New Hampshire area. Nathan intends to do what he can to ameliorate this need by making himself available for veterans funerals, baptisms of servicemembers children, leadership of marriage enrichment workshops for military families, prayers of invocation and benediction at Navy ceremonies, and other tasks as requested. Navy Chaplains serve all of our nation’s Sea Services, which include the Navy, the Marines, the Coast Guard and the Merchant Marines. Fr. Nathan’s duties will not require him to miss additional Sundays (except in the possible case of reserve unit deployments), as his duty time will take place on other days on an as needed basis. His initial training will take place in July 2017 at Naval Station Newport (RI) and as part of his sabbatical in 2018 at the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center located at Fort Jackson (SC).
As Nathan stated at the Commissioning Ceremony on 23 April: “Yes, it is an honor to receive this commission in the Navy. But this is about following the way of Jesus who teaches all of us that greatness comes through serving others. This chaplaincy will give me the opportunity to serve our men and women in the sea services who deserve the very best care that our nation can provide. In the same way, the Lord is calling each of you to discern the ways that you are being called to serve others, to meet the needs of those around you. I have always believed that the need is the call. To see the need and to know that you have the experience, the gifts and skills to meet that need – THAT is God calling you to serve.”
The oath of office was administered by CAPT Mark Winter, USN. The assisting officer, and Nathan’s Navy recruiter, was LT Shea Bickerstaff, USN. During the oath-taking, the Bible was held by Nathan’s wife, Erin McGee Ferrell. A celebratory reception followed in the Parish House Auditorium.