For God and Country
Reflective of our state and nation, we are men and women from diverse religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. We are both seasoned veterans of the corps and also relative newcomers to the chaplaincy. Many of us also serve the citizens of our state and nation as civilian clergy and institutional chaplains. We bring the full spectrum of life experience into our role as chaplains.
The Role of the Army Chaplain
The role of the Army chaplain is to function both as religious leader and staff officer. Chaplains are drawn from the vast expanse of faith groups represented in our nation. The chaplain directly performs the religious rites and services of his or her distinctive faith group while at the same time providing for the religious freedom of all our soldiers. Beyond the scope of religious support, the chaplain plays a leading role in the support of family programs such and Strong Bonds and Resiliency.
Chaplains Serve at Home and Abroad
Since 9/11 our chaplains have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, The Balkans, and Germany. The chaplains of the New Jersey Army National Guard have also provided religious support during Katrina and other times of domestic crisis. While we continue to prepare for future missions (to include the possibility of deployments) we traditionally serve the one weekend a month, with two weeks of summer, annual training required of members of the New Jersey Army National Guard. Chaplains are, however, granted a modicum of flexibility in order to plan training around the demands of the civilian parish and ministry.
The New Jersey Army National Guard is accepting applications from priests, ministers, imams, rabbis, and divinity students to serve both as chaplains and chaplain candidates. Qualified chaplains and chaplain candidates are eligible to receive exceptional educational opportunities, pay, compensation, benefits, and retirement opportunities.
Chaplain Loan Repayment Program
The Army National Guard Chaplain Loan Repayment Program is offered for the purpose of maintaining adequate numbers of qualified chaplains within the National Guard.
We Want You!
If you are a priest, minister, rabbi, or imam, you may be eligible for appointment as an officer in the Army National Guard Chaplain Corps or (if you are pursuing a divinity degree) you may be eligible for entrance into the Army National Guard Chaplain Candidate Program. As a military spiritual leader, you will play a vital role in the lives of the men and women of the New Jersey Army National Guard. Chaplains also minister to the needs of the soldiers’ families: wives, husbands, and children. As an Army chaplain, you will have the opportunity to participate in specialized workshops and receive educational training to enhance your ministerial skills.
In addition to general officer eligibility, in order to qualify as a National Guard chaplain, you’ll need to obtain a federally recognized ecclesiastical endorsement from your denomination or faith group certifying that you:
- Are less than 47 years of age if not prior service (less than 50 with prior service)
- Are qualified spiritually, morally, intellectually and emotionally
- Possess a Bachelor’s degree (not less than 120 semester hours)
- Chaplain applicants must possess a Master of Divinity degree from an accredited program recognized by the Department of Defense. The degree program must be 72 semester hours or more. There can be no combination of degree programs to arrive at the 72 hour minimum. There can be no accumulation of credits to extend a program of less than 72 hours.
- Are sensitive to religious pluralism and able to provide for the free exercise of religion by all military personnel and their family member.
Chaplain Candidate Requirements
In addition to general officer eligibility, to qualify as a chaplain candidate, you’ll need to obtain an ecclesiastical approval from your denomination or faith group certifying that you:
- Chaplain candidates must be enrolled full-time in a qualifying educational program.
- Are less than 37 years of age at commissioning
- Prospective chaplain candidates must possess a minimum 2.5 Grade Point Average (GPA) for undergraduate coursework and obtain a favorable senior chaplain interview before initiating an application with the state specialty branch Officer Strength Manager (OSM). The prospective chaplain candidate must be enrolled full-time in an accredited (recognized by the Department of Defense) Master of Divinity degree program. The degree program must be 72 semester hours or more. There can be no combination of degree programs to arrive at the 72 hour minimum. There can be no accumulation of credits to extend a program of less than 72 hours.
If criteria are met, an application packet is assembled by the Chaplain Recruiter office. That packet is forwarded through military channels to the branch specific approval authority for review and consideration. This process takes approximately 3-6 months from the date of the application. Get more information on becoming a chaplain or chaplain candidate in the New Jersey Army National Guard at the US Army Chaplain website.
The legal origin of the chaplains is found in a resolution of the Continental Congress, adopted 29 July 1775, which made provision for the pay of chaplains. The Office of the Chief of Chaplains was created by the National Defense Act of 1920. Always present with their Soldiers in war and in peace, Army Chaplains have served in more than 270 major wars and combat engagements.