In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 21st as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. This year is the 33rd annual Police Officers Memorial and Appreciation Sunday at Grace Church at Willow Valley. We desire to honor our Police Officers through a service which includes a special reception, awards to specific officers for outstanding service, and a sermon by someone in law enforcement. This year, we are privileged to have as our speaker Patrolman Todd Grager who has served with the Lancaster Bureau of Police since 2006.
Police Chaplaincy: Both Pastor John Smith and Pastor Al Reilly are chaplains with the West Lampeter Township Police Department. They are also members of the International Conference of Police Chaplains. ICPC was founded in 1973 to serve law enforcement. All members receive endorsement to the ICPC from their respective ecclesiastical bodies and the law enforcement agencies they serve. They must also have at least five years’ experience in pastoral ministry and adhere to the Canon of Ethics. Many denominations have enrolled liaison representatives and currently 2600 chaplains are members of ICPC.
Pastor John’s Story: “Back in 2001, two other pastors and I met with Chief Jim Walsh of the West Lampeter Township Police Department. We pitched to him the idea of creating a volunteer chaplaincy to serve the department and, as needed, the citizens of the township. Without batting an eye, Chief Walsh enthusiastically embraced the idea. Within a couple of months, the idea was approved by the township supervisors and the three of us were sworn in as members of the police department. Across the fifteen years that I have served as a chaplain, I have had numerous opportunities at all time of day (and night) to share the presence of Christ with those in need. Please continue to pray for Pastor Al as he and I continue to serve in this capacity.”
What do Police Chaplains do?
- Serve as liaisons with other clergy in community.
- Furnish expert answers for religious questions.
- Offer prayers at special occasions such as recruit graduations, award ceremonies,
- dedication of buildings, etc.
- Do Death Notifications for Police Department.
- Serve as part of the Crisis Response Team.
- Assist at suicide incidents.
- Serve on review boards, awards boards, and other committees.
- Assist with transients and the homeless.
- Offer counseling and visit sick or injured officers and departmental personnel.
Please be in prayer for Pastor John, Pastor Al, and other chaplains as they minister to our police officers and the community. Also pray for the officers who serve and protect as well as the administrative staff who support them in their work.