ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard Chaplain Corps became more “purple” today with the “passing of the stole” from Col. John Morris, Army chaplain, to Lt. Col. Tim Martenson, Air Force chaplain.
Martenson is the Minnesota National Guard’s newest state chaplain and its first Air Force state chaplain. The ceremony took place at North Heights Lutheran Church, Arden Hills, Minn., Dec. 9. The presiding officer for the changing of the stole was Col. Jon Jensen, joint chief of staff, Minnesota National Guard.
“I stepped into this stole with my head bowed in humility and that is truly how I accept it today,” said Martenson. “Chaplain Morris was my mentor. He reshaped me and reformed me as a joint chaplain. Thank you John Morris for all you have done for me and this state. I stand before you the first Air Force state chaplain humbled by mentorship.”
The exact origin of the stole is unclear but dates back to pre-Christian time. Today the stole is both a sign of authority and the symbol of ministerial responsibility.
The Minnesota National Guard command chaplain’s stole symbolizes the pastoral responsibility to perform and provide religious support to soldiers, airmen and their families in peacetime and during war. In receiving the stole, the incoming command chaplain assumes the charge of providing spiritual and technical leadership for the Minnesota National Guard Religious Support Team (RST).
The changing of the stole reminds the RSTs of their charge to serve the service members and their families within its command as they conduct their worldwide mission.
“We must prepare for a future that is uncertain. It is precarious times, certainly they are and we will be needed again,” said Martenson. “The National Guard chaplaincy will be ready, willing and able to meet the future challenges with a sense of confidence.”
Both Morris and Martenson started their chaplain careers in 1984. Duluth resident Martenson graduated from the Air Force ROTC Program at the University of Minnesota, Duluth and commissioned as a second lieutenant while Morris began his military career as a chaplain candidate in the 88th Reserve Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve.
Both chaplains careers have taken them across the country and around the world while always living by their service’s mottoes: the Army’s “For God and Country” and the Air Force’s “Freedom, Faith, Ministry.”
Morris is continuing his service as the staff chaplain for the director of the National Guard Bureau, Army in Arlington, Va. Martenson takes the stole as Minnesota National Guard state chaplain after his last position as the Operations Group Chaplain, 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota National Guard in Duluth.
“You’re the right man, at the right place, at the right time,” said Morris. “I had some significant weakness’ that play to your significant strengths. First you bring the Air Guard perspective, which we long needed. This past decade shows us that we are a joint fighting organization and anything that brings the two wings and the Army Guard together in our state is good for the state and the nation.”