News: Air Force chief of chaplains visits Fairchild
By Airman 1st Class Earlandez Young
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- More than 300 people attended the 92nd Air Refueling Wing's 2012 National Prayer Luncheon, March 2, at the Armed Forces Reserve Center, where Team Fairchild members broke bread and enjoyed Spokane Valley's East Valley High School's, "The Strolling Strings."
Keynote speaker, Maj. Gen. Cecil Richardson, chief of chaplains, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, said the purpose of the luncheon was prayer.
"It's to pray for ourselves, our community, units, friends, families and leaders," said the Air Force's ranking chaplain. "It's also a time to pause and remind ourselves despite the relentless attacks on people of faith and traditional values, we are still one nation under God."
Lt. Col. James Glass, 92nd ARW chaplain, said Richardson has contributed greatly to the U.S. Air Force's Chaplains Corps.
"He's served longer as deputy chief and chief of chaplains combined more than anyone before him," said Glass. "He's had an impact on multitudes of people by touching their lives one way or another and has greatly shaped an entire generation of chaplains. He exudes a passion for people and how they can discover the very best God desires for them. I will forever be indebted to him for the powerful example of chaplain ministry he has modeled for me."
Richardson's top priorities are warrior care, chapel-based ministries and care for the care givers, namely the chaplains and chaplain assistants themselves. He stressed that chaplains should receive as much care as they give to all Air Force personnel.
"When I say chapel-based ministries, I not only mean stateside but overseas as well," said Richardson. "A chapel-based ministry can be at the tail of a C-17 or in front of a KC-135. There's been many times I've stood on top of a vehicle, declared it a chapel and done and outdoor worship service. Anytime you gather people together to worship, you can declare it a chapel and that's a chapel base ministry."
Richardson said he wants people to know how important it is for him to establish and have an effective chapel program to meet the religious needs of all members of the Air Force and dependents regardless of their faith and how chaplains ensure any one can practice their faith.
"It's important people know when they join the military, they don't give up their rights as Americans," Richardson said. "The chaplain corps exists to make sure when Americans join the military, they don't lose their opportunity to freely practice their faith."
With years of experience as a chaplain, Richardson believes the most important aspect of his work is setting an example of faith and living a life where people feel comfortable going to him. He believes all chaplains should be approachable.
"People need to know the chaplain cares," said Richardson. "They should also know the chaplain will do everything he or she possibly can to help."
"I think chaplains need to be good counselors too," said Richardson. "We're all trained counselors. People in the civilian world go to pastors more than any other type of counselor and in the military they come to chaplains, so we need to have excellence in counseling and worship leadership."
Richardson emphasized people reap what they sow, but sometimes they reap what they didn't sow, which may be good or bad things.
"It's important to keep faith and walk with God," said Richardson.