On February 3, 1943, the troop convoy ship Dorchester, with 902 men on board, was torpedoed by a German U-Boat. As the ship sank, the four chaplains aboard moved among the men, assisting, calming, and passing out life vests. Having given their own life vests to save the lives of the soldiers, the chaplains remained on the aft deck, arms linked in prayer until the ship sank, claiming their lives. Many of the 230 survivors lived because of the selflessness and heroism of the four chaplains: Lt. George Fox (Methodist); Lt. Alexander Goode (Jewish); Lt. Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed), and Lt. John Washington (Catholic).
During the seventieth anniversary year of the self-sacrifice of the Four Chaplains, we urge all chaplains, in uniform or serving in civilian congregations, to take a special offering in their memory and to donate it to the work of the Military Chaplains Association. Any weekend that works for your congregation will be acceptable. Every member of the MCA is asked to make a personal gift of $70.
Holy God, you inspired the Dorchester chaplains to be models of steadfast sacrificial love in a tragic and terrifying time; Help us to follow their example, that their courageous ministry may in spire chaplains and all who serve, to recognize your presence in the midst of peril. This we ask in your Most Holy Name. Amen.