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Summer 2005 Rapport: Chaplaincy Spotlight

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Bush Attends AGTS Chaplain’s Service

Chaplain (MAJ) Steve Maglio (M.Div., 1990) can now count himself among the few military chaplains who have preached to the president of the United States.

As Maglio, a chaplain at Fort Hood, Texas, prepared to speak on Easter Sunday, he was informed that the president and his family would attend the service. “This didn’t change the message,” said Maglio, “but it certainly increased the stress factor.”

“I have been blessed with a ministry where I have shared the gospel in Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo, Germany, Iraq and the United States,” said Maglio. “On this glorious day I was honored to present the gospel to two presidents and their families.”

President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush attended with their daughters, former President George H.W. Bush, former First Lady Barbara Bush and family friends. This was the first family’s third consecutive visit to Fort Hood on Easter Sunday.

The Associated Press indicated that there was “no fanfare for the first family during the service, other than a brief recognition.” Assistant Pastor Thomas Preston told Barbara Bush that he appreciated that she had awakened her son early for church. “He may go somewhere one of these days,” he said to laughter from the congregation.
Maglio’s sermon was entitled “Turning Defeat into Victory.” He said, “God is with us through every trial. He enters the fray with us. He is by our side. Christ’s resurrection gives new meaning to all of life. Defeat was turned into victory, and Jesus still turns many defeats into victory.”

After the service, Bush told reporters, “I want to wish all the fellow citizens and their families a happy Easter. We prayed for peace. We prayed for our soldiers and their families. It’s an honor to be here at Fort Hood to celebrate Easter with those who wear the nation’s uniform.”

Experiencing Pentecost Behind Bars
By Prison Chaplain Ralph A. Minster

Chaplain Ralph A. Minster (M.Div., 1988) has been a supervisory chaplain with the Federal Bureau of Prisons since 1989. He is working towards a Doctor of Ministry degree at AGTS. The persons who make up his congregation are diverse in race, culture, ethnicity, economic situation, worldview and religion.

During my 17 years as a chaplain, I have served in five prisons, including the first “Supermax” prison in Marion, Ill., which replaced the prison at Alcatraz. I was brought face to face with the worst of the worst. Ministry of presence was vital as these men constantly watched to see if I was “real” or just a careless chaplain. I watched God soften notorious men who, ultimately, came to know Christ. For the rest of their lives, they will serve as lights in that pitch-dark place.

My present assignment is at the Federal Prison Camp in Eglin, Fla., a minimum-security facility for those accustomed to a life of power, wealth and status. The population includes politicians, professional athletes, judges, law enforcement authorities, attorneys, doctors, Fortune 500 CEOs and ministers. After arriving, they experience a great sense of loss, having no control over their daily routines. They fall quickly into a state of emptiness and despair. During these moments, I have seen God work, bringing a realization of his rightful place in their lives. After this season of redefinition, they are never the same.

In addition to my duties as chaplain, I am the leader of the Crisis Support Team, which spans 11 prisons in Florida. This position places me at the scene of prison riots, hostage situations, staff homicides and other major crises. In July 2005, I will begin a challenging new assignment at a women’s prison with 1200 inmates.

God used AGTS—the professors, students and anointing of the Spirit on the seminary —to prepare me for ministry within a diverse setting. I encourage anyone who desires to affect the world for Christ to consider AGTS. It will change your life and ministry for the glory of God.

Updated: Monday, August 15, 2005 10:39 AM

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