Just recently, a cadre of us chaplains got together at Denny’s restaurant in Hollywood. The meeting was chaired by our new Senior Chaplain Rick Godinez, who replaced retired Chief Greg Gibson. Rick gathered us together to share his thoughts and insights on where we were in our ministry, and more importantly, where we could improve to better serve our members, Department and community.
As I looked across the room, I noticed that we all came from different backgrounds and are at different stages in our lives and careers. Some younger and some older, but all with different experiences. What stood out was that we all gathered as one in Christ, as his disciples armored for battle to spread God’s message in word and in deed in what ever ministry we were called. I was reminded that wherever two or three are gathered in his name, God is present.
Since the inception of the chaplain program many things in this world and culture have changed. One example is new electronic technology which has been both a blessing and a curse with new challenges of its own. But as much as everything has changed, God’s message remains the same. It is to love Him with all our hearts, soul and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. As firefighters, we have all been gifted with a vocation to serve others, a ministry that is able to change people’s lives forever, even if at times we don’t stop and realize the importance and impact of our presence. For many of us it is a job that we love to do and we do it to the best of our ability.
If I may be so bold to speak for my fellow chaplains, our message is simple – it is to spread God’s love by making ourselves available to our members in any capacity that we may be of help. We are not just names in the Grapevine but your brothers in Christ who are willing to hear you, meet with you, and touch you in any way possible. We want to help to make you the best versions of yourselves by bringing you closer to God. We are just as human, weak, vulnerable and capable of sin as any one else in this journey of life. But through the grace and help of God we are willing to put ourselves out there to be of any assistance.
Please feel free to contact us; no chain of command is necessary when your boss trumps all.
Peace be with you,
Chaplain Jess Pasos
Editors Note: A list of your LAFD chaplains is found on page 4 of every issue of The Grapevine. You can contact any of them through the MFC Floor Captain at (213) 576-8920.