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BBC professor named to top chaplain post
A Baptist Bible College professor is the new top chaplain among military police in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Col. Donald Holdridge, Ph.D., will serve as command chaplain for the new Ft. Meade, MD-based 200th Military Police Command. He will be responsible for the training and care of 25-30 Unit Ministry Teams, consisting of one chaplain and one chaplain assistant each, across the country as the top Army Reserve chaplain for the MPs. These unit teams conduct ministry for over 11,000 soldiers and their families. His new command is effective Friday, May 16.
"This gives me real practical ministry experience I can share with my students," said Dr. Holdridge, an associate professor of Greek and Bible and advisor for the undergraduate Chaplain Ministries program at BBC. "We talk a lot about servant leadership here. Jesus talked about picking up the towel and serving. Good leaders in the military put the needs of the soldiers in their care ahead of their own needs. The Army calls this selfless service. Good leaders do that."
The post places Dr. Holdridge over all military police chaplains and chaplain assistants in U.S. Army Reserve. He currently serves as command chaplain for the 8th Medical Brigade of the Army Reserve Medical Command.
Bringing Experience to the Classroom
Military Chaplains are commissioned military officers who provide spiritual counsel to soldiers and their families. In this part-time role, Dr. Holdridge will participate in and lead training events, mentor military chaplains, meet with other senior leaders in Army Reserve, and counsel soldiers on spiritual and life issues.
Also this summer, Dr. Holdridge will serve as 2nd Regimental Chaplain for 42 days for ROTC Cadets training at Ft. Lewis, WA. It is the advanced camp for all cadets in country and includes training in tactics, rappelling, confidence courses and night maneuvers. Participants are juniors getting ready for their senior year of college and will become officers in one year.
"Pull up a log and that's our pew," said Dr. Holdridge, regarding the field services he will conduct for cadets.
In 2005, Dr. Holdridge served as the Forward Operating Base Chaplain at the Baghdad Central Collection Facility at Iraq's Abu Ghraib Prison. While there, he conducted two weekly services, a weekly Bible study, counseled members of all the armed forces, worked as a staff officer for the 306th Military Police Battalion, visited the detention camps, and occasionally interacted with detainees as they awaited their cases to be decided by the new Iraqi government.
"I draw on my experience in Iraq," Dr. Holdridge said. "I can go in there and not just talk about faith. You can live your faith in the midst of shells dropping in, bullets whizzing overhead. God was my refuge and strength at that time."
Dr. Jim Lytle, Vice President for College and Graduate School Academics at BBC, said Dr. Holdridge brings an important focus to the classroom.
"For our students, he has been a model for how to serve with strength," Dr. Lytle said. "He offers a slice of ministry that is different from the more typical local church approach but just as necessary."
Chaplaincy focus at BBC&S
Dr. Holdridge and his wife, Sandy, and son, DJ, live in South Abington Township, PA. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Rhode Island, Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees from Capital Bible Seminary, and a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He has served at BBC since 1993 and is an authority in New Testament translation.
For information on the undergraduate Chaplain Ministries program, call 800.451.7664 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Baptist Bible Seminary has offered the Military Chaplaincy program for three years. The Master of Divinity program allows students to earn the preferred degree of the military. Nearly a dozen students are currently enrolled in the program.
For information on the BBS program, call 800.451.2287 or email email@example.com. Click here to watch a video news report on Military Chaplaincy program.
"The need for chaplains is great," Dr. Holdridge said. "The U.S. Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard have extended service limits beyond the normal retirement age and normal limit of 30 years of commissioned service for chaplains because of the shortage."
"We would love for all those interested to be trained here at BBC&S. We need to train my replacements and bring the hope of the Gospel to soldiers in harm's way."
Posted on: 5/14/2008 10:58:40 AM
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