Now that you have read about weddings and
funerals, lets talk about the subject with which you will
be routinely involvedworship.
Because worship is an important activity of the
church and the Chaplain Corps, it is vitally important to
youthe RP. Worship is the way of expressing ones
faith. The rites of worship are the acts of a faith groups
personal and total devotion. Worship can be defined as
a faithful human response to the revelation of Gods
being, character, beneficence, and will. In worship, God
is adored simply as God. Gods character is praised,
thanks are given for Gods acts, and conformity to Gods
will is sought.
For most humans, ritual is natural. It is therefore
the act of worship that has always been considered to be
the heart of any religion. A knowledge of worship is
basic for a supportive respect of all religious
movements. For you, the RP, a knowledge of worship
You will routinely assist chaplains in providing
religious ministry to sea service personnel, their
families, and other entitled members of the Department
of the Navy. According to Religious Ministries in the
Navy, OPNAVINST 1703. 1B, the first major CRP
responsibility is to provide or facilitate worship
opportunities and participation.
Although chaplains will conduct worship according
to their distinct faith groups, all religious support
personnel must remain sensitive to religious pluralism
in the Navy and Marine Corps. As an RP, you must be
prepared to support a multiplicity of rites of liturgical
worship and special and holy day events. As well as
your chaplains faith groups practices, you must be
aware of the chapel decor, liturgical seasons, and special
worship considerations of other faith groups. In short,
your role as an RP is important and will require a special
knowledge of the leading religions and an awareness of
other belief systems.
The major religions of today include Buddhism,
Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Christianity is the
prevailing religion of all Europe, the Americas, southern
and western Africa, and Australia. Buddhism, Islam,
and Judaism are the principal religions of the other parts
of the world. You will see a great deal of global religious
variety in America and in the United States Navy.
Remember, Navy chaplains and RPs exist in an
environment of religious pluralism.
Other Faith Groups
As well as the leading religions, you will come into
contact with smaller groups consisting of several
different belief systems. As part of the recent spiritual
and new age social movement, for example, many
Americans are expressing a variety of different religious
concepts. New age movements may include religions
of the eastern tradition, holistic healing, channeling, and
vegetarianism. You will encounter these beliefs among
our Navy personnel.
Missionary work is an important activity of many
different churches. Missionary work involves preaching,
teaching, and performing works of charity. Through
missionary work, many faith groups will devote some
means to the continuance and growth of faith.
In the following sections, we will tell you about the
acts of worship of the major faith groups: Buddhism,
Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. These four faith
groups currently comprise the major faiths represented
in North America and in the Navy. In the following
sections, we will take a comprehensive look at each of
these major religious groups. We will start, in
alphabetical order, with Buddhism.
Buddha is the name of a great teacher who founded
the religion called Buddhism. Buddha, the enlightened
one, was a prophet who lived in India 2,500 years ago.
Buddha taught people the meaning of reverence, the
love of truth, and the evils of superstition. Today in the
western world, Buddha is honored as one of the great
teachers of all times.
In 1987, the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA)
became the first non-Judeo-Christian faith group to
become an ecclesiastical endorsing agency. The
national headquarters is the Office of the Bishop.
Although the titular head of the American Buddhist
Church bears the title of bishop, Buddhist clergy in parts
of Asia are addressed as Bhikku and belong to the
Buddhist monastic order called the Sangah.
The organizational structure of the American
Buddhist Church varies with its branches. Buddhist
churches are divided geographically into districts. Each
congregation institutes programs to meet the spiritual,
social, and educational needs of its members. Any