Lenoir-Rhyne University's Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS), located in Columbia, South Carolina, recently held a commencement ceremony for its first cohort of students in the Public Safety Chaplaincy Certification Program.
The 18 month program was initiated through a partnership with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program (SCLEAP) and LR's Academy of Faith and Leadership (AFL) in January of 2016. During the inaugural ceremony nine students received certificates, and Dr. William R. (Bill) Bouknight served as the guest preacher.
Dr. Bouknight was reared in Methodist parsonages, and served five churches in S.C. from 1966 until 1994. He is a recipient of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award, and was named the Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church in 2002 by the United Methodist Foundation for Evangelism. In 2008, he received the Philip Evangelism Award at the United Methodist Congress on Evangelism. Dr. Bouknight is a former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Confessing Movement within the United Methodist Church. For eight years, he served as Associate Director of the Confessing Movement. Dr. Bouknight also served as a chaplain in the Army National Guard for 27 years, retiring in 1994 with the rank of Brigadier General.
Public Safety Chaplaincy is the work of providing pastoral care and support to employees of first responder agencies and their families, as well as to victims of related public safety incidents. Many public safety chaplains work as volunteers, though some organizations have paid chaplain positions. The Public Safety Chaplaincy Certification program is designed to provide a thorough course of training for those desiring to serve as a public safety chaplain. The curriculum covers the breadth and depth of the topics and issues encountered in the field by the public safety chaplain. It is well-suited for those already serving as chaplains and those who have experienced a call to this ministry but are not yet connected with an agency.
For more information visit lr.edu/afl.
Graduates pictured from left to right: Calvin Gallman; David Tafaoa; Lilly Gallman; Dr. Eric Skidmore, Program Manager for S.C. Law Enforcement Assistance Program; Annejanet Harp; Amos Durham; Dr. Tony Everett, retired professor of pastoral care at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary; Edward Hill, Ronald Anderson; Jeremiah Ortiz; and Dr. Steve Shugart, Chaplain for S.C. Law Enforcement Assistance Program. Paul St. John, a member of the graduating class, is not pictured.