U.S. military chaplains, along with NATO ally and partner nations, met this week in Berlin for the 31st iteration of the International Military Chiefs of Chaplains Conference (IMCCC).
The yearly conference serves as an international and interfaith forum for dialogue among military chaplain leadership (predominantly) from Europe and North America to enhance partnerships, foster collegiality and bolster mutually supportive working relationships.
Approximately 104 chaplains from 34 countries attended the four-day conference co-hosted by U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and Germany. Several keynote speakers representing the military and academia delivered remarks during the conference, including U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jessica Meyeraan, USEUCOM’s deputy director for plans, policy, strategy and capabilities.
“Faith practices contribute to our military member’s fitness and resilience. As chaplains you serve as custodians of that fitness and resilience. Celebrating the 31 years of the International Military Chief of Chaplains Conference is a shining example of the beauty, capacity and potential contained within religious diversity and the services you provide your members and leaders,” Meyeraan said during the conference.
The first IMCCC was held in February 1990 when the USEUCOM chaplain’s office coordinated a NATO Chiefs of Chaplains Conference in Stuttgart, Germany. The purpose of the conference was to provide a forum for dialogue and discussion aimed at enhancing partnerships and fostering cooperation and communication among national element chaplains during combined NATO operations. Romania is scheduled to co-host the 32nd iteration in 2021.
“It is very encouraging to see the efforts of this diverse group of senior military chaplains. Their desires to be instruments of peace are evident as they figuratively expand national and denominational boundaries to seek solutions that support the needs of military personnel,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Kleet Barclay, USEUCOM Command Chaplain.
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