Among five chaplains receiving residency completion at a ceremony for clinical pastoral education at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center on Friday night, three were BYU graduates.
“Be blessed, as you bless others.” This blessing, given by Rev. Dr. David Roth, concluded the first residency completion at the medical center. It was accredited by the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy.
The BYU graduates who received completion at the ceremony, all graduated from BYU in April with their Master of Arts in religious education, with an emphasis in military chaplaincy.
Although environments for chaplain careers are numerous, including hospitals, hospices homeless shelters, prisons and rehabilitation centers, military chaplaincy is the only chaplaincy emphasis available at BYU, making it a very small program.
Ryan Lewis, 31, one of the three BYU graduates said that he is grateful to be able to study military chaplaincy at BYU.
“I’m just happy we have this program at BYU. Up until four years ago, this program didn’t exist. And those of us who felt a call to serve in the military as a chaplain, we would need to go to some other theological university to get the educational requirements.”
Wade Hammond, 28, a graduate from BYU’s chaplaincy program was not among those who completed residency on Friday, but is currently in the program. He said that he was inspired to pursue military chaplaincy after the director of military relations for the LDS church spoke to a group of seminary teachers about a possible second career as a military chaplain.
“There were like thirty of us, and I’m pretty sure I was the only one interested,” Hammond said. “They were all joking about it, asking stupid questions and I just wanted to stand up and say, ‘Do you hear what he’s saying? You can basically be a bishop in an interfaith environment for people, and help people who are in times of need.’ This is my dream career. This is great.”
The military chaplaincy emphasis at BYU requires at least one term of residency consisting of 400 hours. Those who received residency completion on Friday night completed four terms, totaling 1,600 hours of residency.
Samuel Fletcher, 28, one of the three BYU graduates said that he completed the four terms so that he could have more hands-on experience.
“BYU is the academic side. This [residency] is more face-to-face,” said Fletcher.