GA 2010: A modern ministry for a modern military

For a man with experienced sea legs, a moment during Sunday’s worship at the 219th General Assembly (2010) made him weak in the knees.

            “I was humbled by the recognition of the chaplains,” reflected Rear Admiral Mark Tidd, chaplain of the Marine Corps and deputy chief of Navy chaplains, during Monday’s Presbyterian Council for Chaplains and Military Personnel luncheon.

            In 1991, the young lieutenant found himself on the verge of shipping out for Operation Desert Storm. “Combat was something of a new experience for our generation,” said Tidd, the father of two young children at the time.

            One night, this son of a Vietnam vet was invited to dinner by the council, where “we talked about everything,” he said.

            Today, that young lieutenant is now a rear admiral scheduled to become chief of Navy chaplains in September.

            Tidd has noticed that care packages from back home for military personnel tend to arrive at the chaplain’s office or tent flap, which give the recipients the opportunity to knock and ask, “Got a minute?”

            For Tidd, he’s glad the PC(USA) is there to minister to its ministers.

            The luncheon also provided the council the opportunity to present new Moderator Cynthia Bolbach a small Celtic cross. The cross, designed to be worn on a set of dog tags — like those distributed since World War II — features detailed work on the front and the word Presbyterian on the back.