Chaplain (MAJ) Steve Maglio (M.Div., 1990) can now count himself
among the few military chaplains who have preached to the president
of the United States.
As Maglio, a chaplain at Fort Hood, Texas, prepared to speak
on Easter Sunday, he was informed that the president and his
family would attend the service. “This didn’t change
the message,” said Maglio, “but it certainly increased
the stress factor.”
“I have been blessed with a ministry where I have shared
the gospel in Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo, Germany, Iraq and the United
States,” said Maglio. “On this glorious day I was
honored to present the gospel to two presidents and their families.”
George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush attended with their
daughters, former President George H.W. Bush, former First Lady
Barbara Bush and family friends. This was the first family’s
third consecutive visit to Fort Hood on Easter Sunday.
Press indicated that there was “no fanfare
for the first family during the service, other than a brief recognition.” Assistant
Pastor Thomas Preston told Barbara Bush that he appreciated that
she had awakened her son early for church. “He may go somewhere
one of these days,” he said to laughter from the congregation.
Maglio’s sermon was entitled “Turning Defeat into
Victory.” He said, “God is with us through every
trial. He enters the fray with us. He is by our side. Christ’s
resurrection gives new meaning to all of life. Defeat was turned
into victory, and Jesus still turns many defeats into victory.”
the service, Bush told reporters, “I want to wish
all the fellow citizens and their families a happy Easter. We
prayed for peace. We prayed for our soldiers and their families.
It’s an honor to be here at Fort Hood to celebrate Easter
with those who wear the nation’s uniform.”
Experiencing Pentecost Behind Bars
Chaplain Ralph A. Minster
Ralph A. Minster (M.Div., 1988) has been a supervisory chaplain
with the Federal Bureau of Prisons since 1989. He is working
towards a Doctor of Ministry degree at AGTS. The persons who
make up his congregation are diverse in race, culture, ethnicity,
economic situation, worldview and religion.
17 years as a chaplain, I have served in five prisons, including
the first “Supermax” prison in Marion, Ill.,
which replaced the prison at Alcatraz. I was brought face
to face with the worst of the worst. Ministry of presence
was vital as these men constantly watched to see if I was “real” or
just a careless chaplain. I watched God soften notorious men who, ultimately,
came to know Christ. For the rest of their lives, they will serve as lights
in that pitch-dark place.
My present assignment is at the
Federal Prison Camp in Eglin, Fla., a minimum-security
facility for those accustomed to a life of power, wealth and
status. The population includes politicians, professional athletes,
judges, law enforcement authorities, attorneys, doctors,
Fortune 500 CEOs and ministers. After arriving, they experience
a great sense of loss, having no control over their daily routines. They
fall quickly into a state of emptiness and despair. During
these moments, I have seen God work, bringing a realization
of his rightful place in their lives. After this season of
redefinition, they are never the same.
In addition to my duties
as chaplain, I am the leader of the Crisis Support Team,
which spans 11 prisons in Florida. This position places me
at the scene of prison riots, hostage situations, staff homicides
and other major crises. In July 2005, I will begin a challenging
new assignment at a women’s
prison with 1200 inmates.
God used AGTS—the professors, students
and anointing of the Spirit on the seminary —to prepare me for ministry
within a diverse setting. I encourage anyone who desires to affect the
world for Christ to consider AGTS. It will change your life and ministry
for the glory of God.