Everything Starts with a Vision
By Ed Stauffer, Executive Director
In 1978 a vision became reality when the Fellowship of Fire Chaplains was started by a group of area chaplains in Ft. Worth, Texas, who met to join together and share ideas and thoughts with one another about the chaplaincy in the fire service. It was not long before the ideas and input from chaplains across the United States became the basis for the founding of the Federation of Fire Chaplains. From this beginning, the fellowship grew and in 1991 adopted a constitution and changed its name to the Federation of Fire Chaplains.
The Federation of Fire Chaplains is incorporated as a nonprofit, professional organization by the “Articles of Incorporation” dated June 15, 1992. The purpose of this organization is to bring together individuals and groups who are interested in providing effective chaplaincies for fire service organizations. To fulfill this purpose the Federation and its members exchange and share ideas and concerns that influence the quality of life of all members of the fire service and their families. These shared ideas and concerns should encourage and assist each one to develop the most noble of all human characteristics, service to others and to God, our Supreme Chief.
The Federation is composed of chaplains from volunteer and paid departments who most often fall into three categories: (1) local clergy who volunteer their time for the fire department, (2) fire fighters who serve as chaplains along with their other duties in the department and (3) fire fighters who are full-time, paid chaplains. As an added benefit to members, the Federation began the “Fire Chaplains’ Institute” which offers specialized training to chaplains in the areas of Effective Chaplaincy Programs, Emergency Service Stress and Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, Chemical Dependency, Employee Assistance Programs, Family Life for Emergency Workers, and Grief and Loss in Cases of Line of Duty Deaths and Other Losses. This training takes place at the Annual Federation of Fire Chaplains Conference/Seminar and Regional Areas.
As fire chaplains, our work is not limited to the area of fire departments, fire fighters, communities nor victims of the devastating ravages of fire or other crisis happenings. We shall strive to help ease the sufferings of our fellow man wherever our paths shall lead. However, as a base for our work, we have chosen the Nation’s Fire Departments Fire fighters, the acknowledged world’s most dangerous profession, and fire victims, whose suffering is that most beyond description.
By providing an effective fire chaplain service, first within these areas, our work will achieve the goal of serving God and humanity. By the nature of their work, fire fighters need the help provided by a thoughtful, caring and effective fire chaplains program. This, with God’s help, is our purpose and we will strive to build.