Dr. Gary Carr has been elected member-at-large to the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces (NCMAF). He will represent The Wesleyan Church joining official representatives, religious leaders and executives from more than 200 denominational churches and faith communities.

NCMAF serves as a single point of contact between the United States Department of Defense and the church. Carr will have opportunity “to offer leadership and direction to its projects, standing committees and the core principles of freedom of religion and advocating for chaplains to speak freely from their own faith traditions without compromising their own beliefs.”

Carr, an associate endorser in The Wesleyan Church Education and Clergy Development Division, endorses clergy to serve in the armed forces chaplaincy. He has 40 years of ministry experience.

“This is an opportunity that The Wesleyan Church gets to branch out to every denomination in the U.S.” said Carr. “It is an honor and a privilege to have a position of influence among a collegial group of religious leaders that spans a complete theological spectrum to discuss concerns and objectives that impact the spiritual well-being of our armed forces. It allows our church to interact with other denominations in matters that impact all Americans.”

“We are blessed to have such an experienced and gifted chaplain serving in the TWC and representing us on the leadership team of NCMAF,” said Russ Gunsalus, executive director of Education and Clergy Development (ECD). “Gary’s ministry has a global impact through our Wesleyan military chaplains at home and throughout the world.” ECD oversees The Wesleyan Church’s military chaplains.

Carr notes that his election is not about his own leadership but the hundreds of chaplains serving throughout the world.

“We want to express our sincere appreciation for all the clergy who are serving in harm’s way every day. Our prayers are with them daily,” said Carr. “We recruit, endorse and provide oversight for chaplains who serve around the world. They preach, pray, make disciples and bring hope in distant lands as well as the isolated work centers within the community.”

Carr encourages ministers and congregation members to consider spiritual service in their communities, whether through chaplaincy or simply stepping up to provide leadership in civil organizations, schools, fire departments and hospitals.

“There are no spiritual leaders in these places in our communities,” Carr said. “It’s not necessary to be credentialed, but just to step up as spiritual leaders.”

Chaplaincy has taken Carr to crime scenes, forensic labs and all kinds of emergency situations, opening up opportunities for ministry to those who may never walk through the doors of a church.

“My church doesn’t have any walls,” said Carr. “To be a pastor to people who don’t have a church, that adds some excitement, a wider reach. This ministry looks outside the church, not just serving inside our congregations.”

Carr has served the U.S. military throughout the world, from Spain to Japan, and now lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His election is for a three-year term.

To learn more about chaplaincy within The Wesleyan Church, click here.