Navy Reserve chaplain candidate, Rev. Ben Nelson III, explains how his calling to more deeply serve his faith brought him to the fleet - answering the eternal question, “Why now?”


“Over the years, there have been constant little markers which have reminded me of this nagging sense of call toward chaplaincy,” said Nelson, a resident of San Marcos, Texas. “For me, serving our country in the world’s greatest Navy makes sense on a spiritual level as well as on a practical one.”


Sharing his infectious enthusiasm for serving others, Nelson, who serves as the rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in San Marcos, explained that he understands and relates to the shared sense of calling felt by many who serve in America’s Navy.


“Nurturing that call as a chaplain seems to be a place where I can offer myself in service to God and the nation,” he reflected. “God willing, and the Navy consenting, I will work to use my experience for the benefit of the dedicated men and women of the fleet, serving the needs of God, my country, and the United States Navy.”


The call to serve is something every man and woman in uniform, both military and civilian, have responded to at some point in their lives. The call to serve others through faith is unique unto itself in that it requires a highly mindful practitioner to nurture growth, discernment, and application of self-discovery in another person.


“I think it took the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit through a Sailor who I encountered at a burial a few months ago,” said Nelson. “But the process has led me here because I needed to reflect on places where my gifts and talents might be useful and where I felt God was calling me to serve.”


Seeing his ministry heading in the service of the fleet, Nelson expressed an immeasurable amount of gratitude for even being considered to serve amongst his fellow Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.


“I’m grateful to enter this process with an open mind and an open heart,” said Nelson. “Talking to the chaplain recruiter has ignited a passion and an excitement for chaplaincy in me that I didn’t realize was so strong.”


Nelson is a graduate of Sewanee, The University of the South, where he earned his Masters of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry.



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Updated March 1, 2017 (kbh)