SJAFB host Clergy Summit

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rebecca Sirimarco-Lang
  • 4th Fighter Wing

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. – Chaplains invited religious leaders from the surrounding communities to attend the annual Clergy Summit at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, Dec. 7, 2023.

Clergy Summit is an event that aims to build connections between military chaplains and religious leaders from neighboring communities. This event acknowledges the crucial role that military chaplains play in supporting and providing spiritual guidance to Airmen and families, while also acknowledging the importance of collaboration and unity with local religious leaders.

“We can help them know what the challenges are that our military members face, and how they can better care for military members and families,” said Chaplain Lt. Col. Jeffrey McMillen, 4th Fighter Wing Chaplain. “They can help us as well and teach us the best practices in ministry.”

The value of this military clergy summit extends far beyond religious matters. It is a crucial aspect of military readiness, resilience and overall mission effectiveness, which is why it is important they understand the Airmen and the jobs they are assigned too. The group gathered for a morning prayer before participating in a tour of base facilities, receiving a brief on the F-15E Strike Eagle capabilities, and ending the day with a demonstration by the 4th Security Forces Squadron and their Military Working Dogs.

The tour offered an opportunity to show our gratitude to the chaplains and the 32 local religious leaders in attendance, who provide comfort in times of distress and strength in times of weakness. Their presence and guidance embody the spirit of service, ensuring that the Wing’s mission is carried out.

“I just really appreciate the opportunity to deepen the relationship with the folks here on base,” said David Wiley, rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. “It’s such a symbiotic relationship between the Air Force and the local community. Building those connections and recognizing the importance that both the city and the Air Force are living together and taking care of each other.”