Chaplain Corps Adds 129 New Chaplains To Their Ranks

A Graduation Ceremony held by the United States Chaplain Corps celebrated 129 new chaplains passing Chaplain Exams, including a number of Chabad Chassidim and shluchim.

Last week, The United States Chaplain Corps (USCC) held a commencement ceremony for 129 new chaplains from 18 states at the Young Israel of Woodmere in Woodmere, NY.

Delegations from the US Air Force, US Coast Guard, US Navy, and NYPD, all of which employ chaplains, attended the event to congratulate the new chaplains and provide encouragement and support. The USCC currently leads 500 chaplains with missions in 50 states, and plans to double its force in 2022.

Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, the need for chaplains has exploded. Lockdowns and social restrictions have created stress in the workplace, community groups, and among seniors and youth. Suicides, anxiety, and depression have soared to unprecedented levels, and loss of jobs and loved ones has fostered a crisis the US may have to battle for years to come.

Addressing the new chaplains, Chaplain Mendy Coen, Director-General of the USCC, said, “We are fielding requests from states, cities and towns around the US to provide chaplain care and services to communities. We are committed to helping seniors, the sick, the youth, and the families who are relying on us to live a better life.” Coen promised the new chaplains the full support and resources of the USCC Board of Directors and Officers.

Frank Sepulveda, NYPD Director of Traffic Division, expressed his admiration for the work of the USCC chaplains. “I am here to support you in your mission and partner with your communities,” he said. Dr. Chaplain Melanie Miller of the US Navy told the new chaplains, “We have opportunities for you to work with the US Navy and Coast Guard and will be happy to welcome you as chaplains.”

Chaplains diffuse pain and ease tension by means of language, psychology, and emotional support. Once certified, chaplains engage in community missions around the country in ten divisions, including police and fire departments, healthcare, youth, seniors, workforce, and aviation. Trained in psychological first aid, chaplains assist in times of acute pain or tension, raising spirits so people can move forward in their lives and can receive needed clinical care.

The USCC is regularly dispatched to disaster scenes, such as the June 24 building collapse in Surfside, FL that took the lives of 98 people. For eight weeks, 30 chaplains attended to the care of victims’ family members, first responders and rescuers. The mayors of Miami, Surfside and Bal Harbor praised the work of the USCC chaplains. Mayor Charles Burkett of Surfside said, “I have seen the amazing work you have done in Surfside. We could not have done it without you, and I am available for you always.”

Martin Langesfeld of Miami, FL attended the commencement ceremony to acknowledge the chaplains’ work in Surfside. “When the building collapsed, I lost my sister and her husband. I was lost, and my family was completely lost. We were traumatized and paralyzed. Thank God for the USCC chaplains. They gave us a sense of direction; they provided therapists for us at no cost. These chaplains were really the only ones we could be with and listen to. The moral, spiritual and emotional support they provided was what sustained us [and enabled us] to continue living.” Langesfeld was so inspired by the chaplains’ work that he recently trained and became certified as a chaplain.

Coen, who frequently consults with chaplains and trains chaplains to master chaplaincy skills, identified “ministry of presence” as the most important and most difficult skill to perfect. “The chaplain must have a clear mind and become a complete vessel to listen and absorb someone’s pain and tension.” Coen emphasized that the more a chaplain is willing and able to help others, the more the chaplain’s skills are developed and sharpened. “Continuing to provide care to others will make you a successful and skilled chaplain. The more you practice, the better you will become.”

To learn more about the USCC and mission opportunities, visit

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