ABHMS-endorsed Military Chaplain Makes Women’s History

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ABHMS-endorsed Military Chaplain Makes Women’s History

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 3/14/13)—In recognition of National Women’s History Month, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) proudly announces a podcast featuring retired Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Lorraine K. Potter, the first female chaplain to serve in the U.S. Air Force.

Potter—also the first woman ordained by American Baptist Churches USA in Rhode Island in 1971—was endorsed as a chaplain by ABHMS in 1973, which enabled her to join the U.S. Air Force, where she would go on to make history by becoming the first female chief of the Air Force Chaplain Service and the first woman in all military services to be promoted to the rank of major general.

In the 24-minute podcast conversation, Potter talks about several other firsts she established during her 31-year career in the Air Force, her call to military chaplaincy work, challenges she faced because of her gender and the continuing importance of the contributions chaplains bring to military service.

“Chaplain Potter’s exemplary Air Force career showcases the contributions women can make in ministry, in the military and throughout American life,” says Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III, ABHMS executive director and endorsing executive. “As the endorsing agent for Chaplain Potter, American Baptist Home Mission Societies is so proud to have had a part in enabling her ministry that paved the way for many more women to fulfill their callings and share their gifts.”

The podcast is part of a 40th anniversary observance of women in military chaplaincy that includes a new exhibit, “Celebrating 40 Years of Women Chaplains: A Courageous Journey of Faith and Service,” at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Arlington, Va. The exhibit opened on March 4, 2013, and will be available for public viewing through March 2014.

Potter, instrumental in developing the exhibit, received an award for her work presented by Air Force Chief of Chaplains Maj. Gen. Howard D. Stendahl, who thanked her for her guidance and mentorship as a superior in his early years of service.

ABHMS continues to endorse American Baptist-ordained clergy for service as military chaplains meeting the needs of service men and women, their families and veterans. In addition, ABHMS endorses American Baptist chaplains and pastoral counselors to serve in various specialized settings, such as hospitals, institutions, private pastoral care settings, correctional facilities and prisons.

For information about applying for ecclesiastical endorsement, visit www.abhms.org > Ministries & Programs > Caring Ministries > Chaplaincy  or e-mail Dr. Laura Miraz, associate endorser, at endorsement@abhms.org.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice. 

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.