Clergywoman Shares Calling as Military Chaplain
By: CH (CPT) Brittany Wooten, US Army
This may or may not shock you, but did you know that women currently make up 16% percent of the United States Army? Or that only 6% of all Army chaplains are women? Women, especially clergywomen, are wildly underrepresented in the Military. These truths hit me hard during Women’s History Month. I have met and served alongside such remarkable clergywomen, and I believe that the Military needs more of our sisters to continue doing God’s work.
I knew from an early age that I was called to be an Army Chaplain. I watched my mother and father faithfully serve their country, and I knew that I was being called by God to serve people like them. God loved those who served and I felt God telling me to do that work. I left home to follow that calling and was unprepared for the struggles I would find ahead. My mother raised me to see that I was equally capable and deserving as any other person. I would not say I grew up sheltered, but I certainly did not realize how unkind the world could be to females in the Military or in the church. The females I knew were really making a difference and the Military was no exception. Every discouraging encounter fueled my desire to follow God and the calling me to chaplaincy and to help make it possible for others to do the same. Female leaders and pastor need to have a voice and be equally represented in our church and Military.
Do you or someone you know want to be an Army chaplain? If a young woman came to you with a desire to serve, would you know how to support her? It was because of strong clergywomen like Reverend Sharon Schwab that I found my way to chaplaincy. She paved a way for Clergywomen throughout her service to the church and she was certainly going to make sure I had what I needed to do the same. It was because of male clergymen like Reverend Brad Lauster that I heard God encourage me to be strong and courageous in the face of gender discrimination. He never let me forget that my calling was from God alone. Rev. Schwab and Rev. Lauster built the bridges I didn’t know I needed. They spoke prophetically when the silence was deafening. They advocated in ways that moved mountains and made a way for a young women to follow her dreams.
In honor of all those before me who have followed their dreams and made history, I invite you to do the same. There is a brave calling on your life. Find it, follow it, defend it, and surround yourself with the Rev. Schwab’s and Rev. Lauster's to enrich you along the journey. Remind yourself and others that God is calling you to something bold and beautiful. Use every moment to make history and enable others to make history as well.
Hopefully some of you follow that brave calling and become Army chaplains. Call me if you do!