Chaplain of the Marine Corps visits Pendleton to talk spiritual resiliency
By Sgt. Christopher Duncan
| Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | May 08, 2013
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The Chaplain of the Marine Corps visited the Religious Development Center here to discuss spiritual resiliency in the Corps on May 6.
“While here, I spend some time with the chaplains and religious program specialists to brief them on the state of the Chaplain Corps,” said Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben, who visits Pendleton annually. “We discuss where we are, where we’re going and what’s important to them.”
Some of the topics of discussion were systems and programs recently implemented to assess, triangulate and resolve potential issues like sexual assault and suicide in the Marine Corps.
“Visits like this forces focus on the effective delivery of religious ministry,” said Kibben. “I hope to gain a firm understanding of what’s going on with religious ministries around the Marine Corps to ensure that the decisions we make in Washington D.C. are beneficial to the Corps.”
According to Kibben, gaining awareness of trending issues Navy chaplains are encountering helps leadership make more effective decisions.
“We want to know what’s going on with them in their world, because it does us no good to make global, wide-sweeping, decisions in D.C. without having input from the field,” said Kibben. “If they’re dealing with one thing and I’m trying to create instruction on another, we’ve missed the point.”
According to Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott Quinn, religious programs specialist of the Marine Corps, it is important that RPs pay close attention to their career progress and are equipping themselves with the tools necessary to perform at a higher level in order to support those looking for religious assistance.
The Chaplain Corps has implemented the Navy Chaplaincy Ministry Support Tool that provides chaplains and RPs with a means to identify issues in commands and develop support systems.
“It’s an incredibly valuable excel program that allows a chaplain and RPs to document what they're seeing,” said Kibben. “There are no names, but there are situations and numbers which help them to identify trends so that we can focus our ministry appropriately.”
Kibben also said its intent is to help the chaplains advise the commander on any trending issues, and the next phase is to share information the chaplain gathered through communication with mental health and the safety officer.
“In the end, people need to know they’re loved and that the decision makers in D.C. aren’t being arbitrary or myopic,” said Kibben.
Kibben stated that suicide prevention and sexual assault all under a larger umbrella she likes to call destructive behaviors and Kibben believes there is a moral and ethical issue that needs to be addressed.
“Our role as chaplains and RPs is to develop that sense of self worth within the individual Marine and family members,” said Kibben.