WASHINGTON -- The Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) announced his intention to nominate Rear Adm. Barry Black as U.S. Senate’s 62nd chaplain, June 17. Should Black garner the position, he will be the first African American, first Seventh-day Adventist and first military chaplain to serve in the post.
According to Frist, the confirmation of chaplain nominees by the Senate is a mere formality; Frist expects Black to be in his post before the Senate’s July 4 recess.
Black, 53, plans to retire from the Navy within the next several days. He enlisted in the Navy in 1976, after a stint as a "circuit-riding pastor" and evangelist. He served as the head of the Navy’s chaplaincy program since 2000. Black, a Baltimore native, earned three masters' degrees -- in art, counseling and divinity. He also holds the doctor of ministry degree from East Baptist Seminary in Lancaster, Pa., and a doctor of philosophy degree from United States International University in San Diego
"I look forward to this great opportunity and challenge and I am grateful to the senators already," Black said.
The 61st chaplain was Lloyd John Ogilvie who served the role from 1995 until this March when he took leave for the sake of his ailing wife. Prior to his tenure, Ogilvie pastored the National Presbyterian Church in Washington.
Frist, in making his announcement, praised Ogilvie’s service. "In the eight years Dr. Ogilvie has served as Senate chaplain, he has been an inspirational and comforting voice to the Senate family and a friend to me and my colleagues," Frist said. "He has left a tremendous mark on the Senate and on the lives of everyone who’s had the privilege of hearing his spiritual counsel."
Since 1789, the Senate appointed chaplains to open chamber sessions with prayers and to attend to the “spiritual needs” of the Senate community. Currently, the full-time position carries a salary of $130,000. The chaplain's office provides such services as Bible studies and pastoral counseling to senators, their families and the thousands of Senate staffers -- which altogether make up a community of about 6,000 people.