Former Chaplain Tells Tales of War and Peace | New
Some people go through life with experiences they are eager to share with others. The Reverend Murray Thompson of the Township of Falls. is one of those people.
Thompson is the chaplain of ext. 457 Dennis Strong American Legion. He spent 10 years as a Presbyterian chaplain in the military, a period of his life he praises.
“Serving as a chaplain in the Army has been the highlight of my career,” said Thompson. “I always tell people that if the opportunity arises again, I would raise my hand and take it. I’m not sure that will happen though. “
Thompson cared so much about his experiences that he wrote a book about them. “Shepherds of God in Wolf Disguise: Random Reflections from a Former Army Chaplain” was published on June 15.
“A military chaplain does everything a soldier does, but he doesn’t carry weapons,” he said. “We go through as many dangers as a soldier, but with less protection for us.”
Thompson has always had military aspirations since he was a child in Ford City. He was ordained into the Presbyterian Church in 1976, serving his first church in Colfax, Iowa. In 1985, he graduated from the Basic Chaplain Course at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and was posted to the 101st Airborne & Air Assault Division at Fort Campbell, Ky. It was with this division that he served in Germany, Ghana and his most memorable experience, Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf. He writes about a particular experience he had in Saudi Arabia.
“I was standing on the desert floor, looking up at the sky, and I felt the presence of the spirits like nowhere else,” Thompson said. “Despite everything that was going on, I felt perfectly safe. I knew this was where God wanted me to be.
Thompson also writes about the role military chaplains have played since the American Revolution, using extracts from the Bible to help explain their roles. He also talks about the religion of Islam and his experiences in predominantly Muslim countries.
After completing his military service, Thompson and his wife, Karin, moved to northeastern Pennsylvania, when he became pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Pittston. It was in this region that he raised his five children, but the trip was not made.
“My spiritual journey has taken us to churches in New Mexico and Indiana,” said Thompson. “It got to the point where I was finally ready to retire and take some time for myself. “
He retired in 2014 and returned to northeastern Pennsylvania. He still helps at Providence United Presbyterian Church in Scranton, but only in minor roles. Writing had always been something he loved to do, but never had the time. Now he is taking full advantage of the opportunity.
“He worked really hard and you could tell he was passionate about the material,” said his wife. “Anyone interested in a different side of the military will love this book. “
Thompson will be holding a book signing at Barnes & Noble in Wilkes-Barre at 1 p.m. on Sunday July 18.