Navy chaplain Harry W. Griffith received an extended ovation of gratitude from the assembly and made a plea for more chaplains.
Griffith thanked the ELCA for support and prayers, saying that when he was asked what supplies were needed, he would say, “Nothing really … we had 12 varieties of ready-to-eat meals,” the resource Sundays and Seasons from which to plan and shape worship, and “one day, I received 3,000 cases of Girl Scout cookies.”
While he didn’t discourage sending care packages to soldiers, he also urged support for returning veterans, those stateside and military families.
Griffith told the assembly he is ready to retire: “After 30 years, eight deployments and 1,620 days away from home, my ‘honey-do’ list is extensive.”
As he returns to his family, he sought replacements, asking pastors to serve as chaplains and congregations to let their pastors serve. He outlined the sorrow and joy they’d experience as a military chaplain to “prodigal sons and daughters longing for grace.”
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers