HOME > NEWSROOM > ARTICLES > Senate Chaplain’s Counsel Recognized

Senate Chaplain’s Counsel Recognized

As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took to the Senate Floor on Wednesday to announce a bipartisan agreement to fund the federal government and its debt obligations, he paused to recognize the man who had spoken just before, Senate Chaplain Barry Black.  Senator Reid lauded Chaplain Black, who had opened the Senate in prayer, for being “a voice of stability and a voice of inspiration” during the intense shutdown stand-off, and a “counselor” and a “leader” in the chamber.

Chaplain Black, a retired Rear Admiral and former Chief of Chaplains in the United States Navy, had drawn press attention when he prayed last week, “Lord, when our federal shutdown delays payments of death benefits to the families of children dying on faraway battlefields, it’s time for our lawmakers to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ Cover our shame with the robe of your righteousness. Forgive us, reform us and make us whole.” In fact, he opens the Senate in prayer nearly every day that it is in session, and he does not shy away from praying in direct light of struggles before the body. Chaplain Black told the press on Thursday, “I think it would be very difficult for me to pray without reflecting the political environment that I’m in. If the chaplain of the Senate just uttered pious platitudes in his prayer, that would be irrelevant. And so, I think that my intercession on behalf of the people that I serve should reflect the challenges we are facing.”

Last Sunday, as the Senate continued its marathon session of gridlock, Chaplain Black prayed:

Lord God of all creative possibilities, help our lawmakers turn this impasse into a bypass so that the heart of our Nation may beat vibrantly and strong.

Lord, on our coins and currency, we have placed the words ``In God We Trust.'' Give our lawmakers the wisdom to trust You and each other, turning the stubbornness of impossibilities into the blessings of creative possibilities.

You are our God, and we refuse to entertain fears about our Nation's future, for we remember how You have led this great Republic in the past. Make a way out of no way. Answer our prayers and use Your powerful arms to keep our Nation safe and secure.

We pray in Your great Name. Amen.

Chaplain Black, who became Senate Chaplain in 2003, and his House counterpart, The Reverend Patrick Conroy, are entrusted with offices that have carried on since the foundation of the American Republic. In 1789, the year the U.S. Constitution took effect, Reverend William Linn and the Right Reverend Samuel Provost were elected chaplains of the House and Senate respectively. These chaplains adopted the model of the earlier Continental Congresses by opening every day with an invocation. For over two hundred years that practice has continued each day of Congressional session.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: October 18, 2013

Latest News

National Religious Broadcasters Marks 70th Anniversary

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the National Religious Broadcasters, which was established with the focus of defending and expanding access to electronic media platforms for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

FCC Chairman Engages on Future of Broadcasting

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler offered his thoughts this week on what the future of broadcasting could...

Supreme Court Turns Down First Amendment Case

The U.S. Supreme Court this week decided not to take up Elane Photography v. Willock, a case in which a professional photographer...

Nearly Half of House Publicly Oppose Performance Tax

Nearly half of all Members of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives now publicly support the Local Radio Freedom Act...

NRB Chairman Bill Blount Meets, Greets NAB Leaders

Newly elected NRB Chairman Bill Blount had the opportunity this week to meet and speak briefly with the President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters as well as its Chairman.

Cornerstone Network Celebrates 35 Years of Broadcasting

Cornerstone Network will mark its 35th anniversary on Tuesday, April 15, and plans to celebrate its history and future with an array of activities, including an on-air celebration, the release of a new book, and the launch of new television programs.

Irreplaceable: Focus on the Family's First-Ever Movie Event on May 6

Irreplaceable, one of the largest initiatives that Focus on the Family has ever undertaken, will be presented one night only in more than 700 select movie theaters around the country.

In Memoriam: Norma Pederson, Wife of Reach Beyond President Wayne Pederson

Norma Pederson, the wife of Reach Beyond President Wayne Pederson, passed away Thursday, April 3, after a yearlong battle with cancer.

Walking with the Enemy: Mark Schmidt Adapts True Decades-Old Story from Nazi-Occupied Hungary

Last week, the Rev. Mark Jenkins, NRB President's Council Member and Minister of Media at Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, VA, invited several NRB staff to attend a screening of Director Mark Schmidt's Walking with the Enemy, produced by Liberty Studios.

CIN Study Highlighted at Senate Hearing

Following up on a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, members of the Senate Commerce Committee began their review of the...

More News