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International Chaplaincy Symposium Held During RIMPAC 2024

03 July 2024

From Petty Officer 1st Class Emily Casavant

An International Chaplaincy Symposium was held at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel onboard Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2024, July 2.
The day-long symposium hosted over 150 guests and featured multiple speakers, including Ambassador Rashad Hussain from the Office of International Religious Freedom, who served as the keynote speaker.

“It is critical to be clear about where we stand,” said Hussain. “It is critical for us to live out our values and show our values. Being authentic in who you are and being sincere in who you are every single day for those who come to you, those who you interact with in your local communities does so much to promote our promise.”

Speakers addressed topics such as religious acceptance and the significance of military personnel being able to practice and celebrate their religions.

“The greatest thing about this RIMPAC exercise is not just the countries coming together, but seeing the different ideas and different faiths coming together under the same purpose of ‘how do we help each Sailor achieve their spiritual health and well-being?’,” said Religious Program Specialist 2nd Class James Gilreath, assigned to the Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel.

Military chaplains from more than eight countries attended the symposium, engaging in discussions and offering perspectives from their diverse backgrounds.

“We value tremendously the work that you’re doing,” said Hussain to the U.S. and international chaplains in attendance. “You are critical partners.”

The symposium is held biannually as part of RIMPAC and is one of many symposiums held throughout the month-long exercise. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2024 is the 29th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

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