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Pastor receives military commendation for chaplain’s work

December 1, 2010 2 Comments

Rev. Vic Morris serves Concordia Lutheran Church, Penticton, B.C. and is a reserve chaplain with the Canadian Forces.

Rev. Vic Morris pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church in Penticton B.C., and a reserve military chaplain with the British Columbia Dragoons, was awarded the Commander’s Commendation by Colonel Bryan Gagne of the Canadian Army’s 39 Brigade Group headquartered in Vancouver. A chaplain before he came to Concordia, he let the congregation know what they were in for in calling a reservist.

For decades after the Second World War the chaplain’s lot was relatively easy, says Vic, but since the Afghanistan war began, it has become essential spiritual work. The military has dispatched him a half dozen times in the past four or five years to notify families in his region that their son, daughter or spouse has been wounded or killed. “We have to move fast because we want them to hear it from us first.”

He has twice accompanied families to military hospitals outside of Canada—once to Germany and once to the United States—to support them and their wounded kin. “That’s what I got the commendation for,” he says. Canada alone among NATO countries with troops in Afghanistan pays for the immediate family to fly to a wounded or dying soldier’s bedside.

Vic praises his congregation and his family for supporting his second calling and for taking up the slack on short notice when duty sends him out town or country.

Far from seeing a conflict between military and Christian service, he says both serve God. He cites Romans 13 to show that armed forces obeying lawful authority do the work of the Lord while “we chaplains hold the hand that holds the sword.”

Vic has always been attracted to the military and as a child formed a strong bond with his grandfather, a World War II veteran. He has volunteered several times for duty in Afghanistan but says there are far more volunteers than open positions.

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