The National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces (NCMAF) at their annual meeting currently taking place in Washington DC have unanimously elected the Right Reverend Derek LS Jones to serve as “Chair-elect.” Bishop Jones is the Bishop of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy (Anglican Church in North America). Bishop Jones will serve as the Chair-elect for two years and then become the Chairperson for the organization for two years. NCMAF is the peer organization for Ecclesiastical Endorsers for the representative faith groups who provide chaplains to the United States Military and Department of Defense (DoD). Currently there are nearly 190 religious faith groups endorsing chaplains.
NCMAF’s Chairperson and Chair-elect work in tandem to address religious and ministry issues and concerns to various military related government entities and on Capitol Hill. They work closely with the Chiefs of Chaplains for the United States Navy, Army, and Air Force. The Reverend Sarah Lammert, Director of Ministries and Faith Development for the Unitarian Universalist Association has been serving as Chair-elect,and now serves as NCMAF’s Chair.
“I am humbled by my selection,” said Bishop Jones. “As I sit in a room with representation of Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, virtually all faith groups in the US… and realize that they trust me to represent this historic and prestigious organization on their behalf – I am beyond honored.”
“NCMAF has been a crucial voice for religious liberty in several key events over the last couple of years and Bishop Jones has played a significant role,” says Chaplain, Captain Jack Lea, USN (ret) and Executive Director of NCMAF. Bishop Jones had been serving on the Executive Committee of NCMAF prior to his nomination and election as Chair-elect. Captain Lea added, “personally, I am thrilled about his selection!”
Bishop Jones’ selection doesn’t surprise many who are aware of his leadership and work, often behind the scenes, over the last several years. He was a founding member of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty (CALL), co-authored and was part of the editing team for Section 533 of the National Defense Authorization Act in 2013 and supporting sections in 2016, and has represented the ACNA many times on Capitol Hill. His argument of Conscientious Objection to the US Supreme Court in Zubik v. Burwell (Little Sisters of the Poor) helped sway the court’s decision favorably from what was expected to be an undecided court due to the death of Justice Scalia.
(Bishop Jones’ argument became the amicus brief written by Scott W. Gaylord, Elon University Law School and was co-sponsored by Ave Maria University. You can read the amicus here: http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Anglican-Chaplains-and-Ave-Maria-University-LSP-Amicus.pdf)