US and Southern African Chaplains Forge Bonds of Cooperation in Zambia

Zambian Defense Force (ZDF) welcomed the participation in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) event of U.S. military chaplains from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), US Air Forces Africa (AFAF), North Carolina Army National Guard, and New York Army National Guard, April 6-13, 2024.


"As we come together, sharing insights and experiences, we're not just strengthening the support for our military personnel and their families; we're forging a powerful bond that transcends borders.” said U.S. Army Chaplain Col. Karen Meeker, Command Chaplain, AFRICOM. “Together, we are building a foundation of understanding and cooperation that will benefit our soldiers and their loved ones for generations to come."
By U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs United States Africa Command LUSAKA, Zambia Apr 15, 2024
View Gallery
fallback
Gallery contains 4 images

Zambian Defense Force (ZDF) welcomed the participation in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) event of U.S. military chaplains from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), US Air Forces Africa (AFAF), North Carolina Army National Guard, and New York Army National Guard, April 6-13, 2024.

This collaboration was part of the SADC’s efforts to strengthen intercultural relations and learn from each other on how to provide comprehensive spiritual support to military personnel and their families.

"This gathering in Lusaka is a testament to the spirit of collaboration and mutual respect that exists among our nations and military chaplains.” said Brigadier General Rev. Dr. Henry Matifeyo, Chaplain General Ministry of Defense. “It's an honor to host such a diverse group of chaplains, each bringing their unique perspective yet united in a common purpose."

Over a span of five days, a diverse group of SADC chaplains from Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Namibia, United States, and Zambia gathered with AFRICOM Chaplains in Lusaka, Zambia, for a workshop that offered a unique opportunity for dialogue, learning, and sharing of religious ministry best practices. The primary focus of the event was to explore effective strategies for chaplains to build the spiritual readiness and emotional well-being of military personnel and their families.

"As we come together, sharing insights and experiences, we're not just strengthening the support for our military personnel and their families; we're forging a powerful bond that transcends borders.” said U.S. Army Chaplain Col. Karen Meeker, Command Chaplain, AFRICOM. “Together, we are building a foundation of understanding and cooperation that will benefit our soldiers and their loved ones for generations to come."

In her role as representing AFRICOM, Meeker met with the Hon. Ambrose Lufuma, Zambian Chief of Defence where they discussed the conference, workshop, and ongoing U.S. and Zambian cooperation. In addition, she was a guest speaker at the Zambia Defense Services, Command and Staff College and shared with 90 military students from 13 African countries about her experiences and how it relates to them, the importance of taking care of those under your authority, and the need to prioritize mental health. 

This workshop facilitated an invaluable exchange of experiences and insights, aiming to enhance the bonds between chaplains of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. These dedicated individuals are united by a common mission: to serve those who serve in the armed forces.

In a heartwarming extension of fellowship, the US military chaplains were invited by local churches in Lusaka to preach and teach at worship services, further cementing the bonds between the American and Zambian communities.

"This workshop in Lusaka was a remarkable opportunity to connect and learn from our international peers, reminding us that despite diverse backgrounds, our mission remains the same: to compassionately support our Service members and their families.” said U.S. Army Chaplain Col. Doug Brock, State Chaplain for New York Army National Guard. “The bonds formed here are a testament to our collective dedication and humanity. I am deeply inspired by the connections made and the lessons learned."

The coming together at SADC in Zambia stands as a significant milestone in the ongoing journey towards mutual understanding and cooperation among nations. It highlights the shared commitment to nurturing the human spirit and underscores the power of collaboration across borders.

The SADC is an organization committed to regional integration and poverty eradication within southern Africa through economic development and ensuring peace and security.

U.S. Africa Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, is one of 11 U.S. Department of Defense combatant commands, each with a geographic or functional mission that provides command and control of military forces in peace and war. AFRICOM employs the broad-reaching diplomacy, development, and defense approach to foster interagency efforts and help negate the drivers of conflict and extremism in Africa. 

For more information, visit our website, Facebook and X/Twitter pages, or contact U.S. Africa Command Media Relations at africom-pao-media@mail.mil

More in Partnerships
AFRICOM Leader Focuses on African Maritime Security in the West Indian Ocean
Ambassador Robert Scott, deputy commander for civil-military engagement at U.S. Africa Command, visited Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles May 11-18 to meet with partner nation government officials and discuss the countries’ regional efforts to address maritime security challenges.
Read more
North Carolina National Guard Welcomes Malawi as Their New State Partners
North Carolina National Guard leaders and leaders from Malawi participated in a State Partnership Signing Ceremony in Lilongwe, Malawi, April 27, 2024. The leaders joined fellow U.S. Military and Malawi officials at a signing ceremony as part of the North Carolina National Guard’s expansion bringing the Republic of Zambia and the Republic of Malawi into their State Partnership Program, a National Guard Bureau initiative joining individual state National Guards and host nations as part of U.S. security cooperation and international civil-military affairs.
Read more
North Carolina National Guard Welcomes New Zambian Partnership
North Carolina National Guard leaders join fellow U.S. Military and Zambian leaders at a State Partnership Program Signing Ceremony, Livingstone, Zambia, April 26, 2024. The leaders were invited to the ceremony as part of the NCNG’s expansion joining the Republic of Zambia and the Republic of Malawi in their State Partnership Program, a National Guard Bureau initiative joining individual state National Guards and host nations as part of U.S. security cooperation and international civil-military affairs.
Read more
More in Partnerships
AFRICOM Leader Focuses on African Maritime Security in the West Indian Ocean
Ambassador Robert Scott, deputy commander for civil-military engagement at U.S. Africa Command, visited Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles May 11-18 to meet with partner nation government officials and discuss the countries’ regional efforts to address maritime security challenges.
Read more
North Carolina National Guard Welcomes Malawi as Their New State Partners
North Carolina National Guard leaders and leaders from Malawi participated in a State Partnership Signing Ceremony in Lilongwe, Malawi, April 27, 2024. The leaders joined fellow U.S. Military and Malawi officials at a signing ceremony as part of the North Carolina National Guard’s expansion bringing the Republic of Zambia and the Republic of Malawi into their State Partnership Program, a National Guard Bureau initiative joining individual state National Guards and host nations as part of U.S. security cooperation and international civil-military affairs.
Read more
North Carolina National Guard Welcomes New Zambian Partnership
North Carolina National Guard leaders join fellow U.S. Military and Zambian leaders at a State Partnership Program Signing Ceremony, Livingstone, Zambia, April 26, 2024. The leaders were invited to the ceremony as part of the NCNG’s expansion joining the Republic of Zambia and the Republic of Malawi in their State Partnership Program, a National Guard Bureau initiative joining individual state National Guards and host nations as part of U.S. security cooperation and international civil-military affairs.
Read more
More in Partnerships
AFRICOM Leader Focuses on African Maritime Security in the West Indian Ocean
Ambassador Robert Scott, deputy commander for civil-military engagement at U.S. Africa Command, visited Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles May 11-18 to meet with partner nation government officials and discuss the countries’ regional efforts to address maritime security challenges.
Read more
North Carolina National Guard Welcomes Malawi as Their New State Partners
North Carolina National Guard leaders and leaders from Malawi participated in a State Partnership Signing Ceremony in Lilongwe, Malawi, April 27, 2024. The leaders joined fellow U.S. Military and Malawi officials at a signing ceremony as part of the North Carolina National Guard’s expansion bringing the Republic of Zambia and the Republic of Malawi into their State Partnership Program, a National Guard Bureau initiative joining individual state National Guards and host nations as part of U.S. security cooperation and international civil-military affairs.
Read more
North Carolina National Guard Welcomes New Zambian Partnership
North Carolina National Guard leaders join fellow U.S. Military and Zambian leaders at a State Partnership Program Signing Ceremony, Livingstone, Zambia, April 26, 2024. The leaders were invited to the ceremony as part of the NCNG’s expansion joining the Republic of Zambia and the Republic of Malawi in their State Partnership Program, a National Guard Bureau initiative joining individual state National Guards and host nations as part of U.S. security cooperation and international civil-military affairs.
Read more