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Process
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PROCESS
When approved by the Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries Committee, the ACM Director / Military Endorser sends a letter to the respective Office of the Chief of Chaplains informing them of the approval and a copy to the individual applicant.  The letter of approval becomes an essential part of the applicant’s packet submitted to the military accessions board.  Without ecclesiastical approval from a faith group, the applicant will not qualify for a commission as a Chaplain Candidate.  When an applicant is selected for commissioning, orders will be published and the applicant will be informed by the military service.  The new Chaplain Candidate can then procure uniforms and proceed with making arrangements to attend military training opportunities during their remaining time in the seminary.  Seminaries sometime grant academic credit for specific training.
 
AFTER GRADUATION
After graduation from seminary with the M.Div. degree, the Chaplain Candidate can elect one of three options:
 
1.  Resign the commission with no further obligation, unless bonus monies have been received from the military for becoming a Chaplain Candidate (different than veterans’ educational benefit). 
 
2.  Apply for ecclesiastical endorsement as a military chaplain in the Guard or Reserve Components, provided you have the required pastoral experience and apply for a commission as a military chaplain in one of the Reserve Components.
 
3.  Apply for ecclesiastical endorsement as a military chaplain on active duty in one of the armed services, provided you have the required pastoral experience and apply for a commission as an active duty military chaplain in one of the armed services. 
 
NOTE:  Ecclesiastical approval and endorsement are not the same; approval does not automatically transfer into endorsement.  A Chaplain Candidate must apply for ecclesiastical endorsement in order to become a military chaplain in either the Guard, Reserves, or Active Duty Components of the military services. 
 
PASTORAL EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
 
All the military services require a minimum of two years’ experience as a pastor-in-charge-of-a-church before a person can be commissioned as a military chaplain and serve on active duty.  This pre-requisite is mandated by the denomination as well.  The experience can be obtained one of three ways: 
 
1.  Employment by a conference as a ministerial intern pastor.
  
2.  Pastoral service in the “His Hands” program contracted by a local church.
 
3.  Bi-vocational or volunteer service as a pastor of a church when a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement (MOUA) has been brokered between ACM, a conference, supervisory pastor and the individual.
NOTE:  A year (four quarters) of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training in residence generally counts as one year of pastoral experience.  Prior to claiming such credit, obtain a letter of approval from ACM before entering any residential CPE program. 
 
CONDITIONS FOR RETENTION OF ECCLESIASTICAL APPROVAL
 
Once a letter of ecclesiastical approval has been granted by the ACM Committee, the applicant must sustain approved status by the following actions:
 
1.  Remain a Seventh-day Adventist church member in regular standing.
 
2.  Continue as a full-time seminarian and complete the M.Div degree.

3.  Send in an annual report to the ACM Department by 31 January of each year.  The report form is posted on the ACM Web Site and can be completed on line.

4.  Actively engage in pastoral ministry to fulfill the requirement for pastoral experience.  Chaplain Candidates are encouraged to keep a written log of all pastoral activities and services they perform that could be viewed as fulfilling the experience requirement.     
NOTE:  If the pastoral experience requirement is not fulfilled within three years after graduation from seminary, ACM will revoke the ecclesiastical approval for the Chaplain Candidate, unless extenuating circumstances exist and the Chaplain Candidate applies to ACM for an extension of an additional year.


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