Augsburg Fortress
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Encouraging words from ELCA & RCA military chaplains

June 26th, 2013 by Beth A. Lewis

Can you imagine being a pastor who is called to a scene of devastation, whether a natural disaster or a wartime tragedy?   You are impacted by emotions as much as all around you, yet those others look to you for calm, strength and hope.  Not an easy task, to be sure!

Recently, Chaplain Paul Sutter faced just such a situation following the destruction caused by the tornadoes that hit Oklahoma.

North Cleveland


Shortly after that tragic event, Chaplain Sutter sent us this photo that he took in Moore, OK and this touching note:

“I just wanted to let you know that we held a Community Prayer service at Tinker (Air Force Base) last Wednesday, 22 May following the devastating Oklahoma Tornadoes. I adapted and included many of the prayers from the “Prayer Book for the Armed Services” that I received at the retreat as well as used the service structure from “Sundays and Seasons.” The attached service was very well received. Please convey my appreciation to church wide for the great resources they have made available to us.”


Wing Chaplain

Tinker AFB, OK


Chaplain Sutter isn’t the only military chaplain who is grateful for the recently published Prayer Book for the Armed Services.  Just this week, we received this note from Chaplain Kenneth Sampson:

“I wholehearted commend the ELCA for arranging and publishing this tremendous tool.  By far the best I’ve seen.  The rite for affirming baptism vows upon return from combat, individual and unit rites of passage, durability of the binding, rounded edges…just wonderful.” 

 “I’ll spread the word to chaplains and chaplain assistants I know of the exceptional value of this work.  Highest commendation to the editors, arrangers, publishers, and the ELCA for offering this reasonably priced worship resource.

 Thank you again for making this resource possible and available.”

Kenneth Sampson, Reformed Church in America

Chaplain (Colonel) U.S. Army

Senior Military Fellow (Ethics)

National Defense University


My colleagues on the Augsburg Fortress worship & music team and our partners in ministry on the ELCA churchwide office worship & music team work closely together to create resources that will be helpful to people worshiping in a wide range of settings and circumstances.  To receive such affirmation from the people using Prayer Book for the Armed Services and Sundays and Seasons in such challenging settings as those faced by military chaplains is incredibly moving.

Thank you, Chaplains Sutter and Sampson, for taking the time to send us these words that mean so very much to my colleagues and me as we strive to serve through creating helpful ministry resources!  Blessings to each of you and all of the other military chaplains serving around the globe!  It is our hope that Prayer Book for the Armed Services will not only be used by chaplains, but by individuals in both active duty and reserve military service to assist them in blending their faith lives with their lives of service.



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Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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