Chaplain to the Chaplains
Bebee’s involvement with the EFCA began in 1971, when he served as youth pastor at Skokie EFC in Chicago. Ordained by the EFCA in 1976, he pastored two California churches before becoming an active duty Navy chaplain, serving tours on bases across the United States, as well as on aircraft carriers and at naval hospitals. He was then head chaplain of amphibious forces during Operation Desert Storm. He has served as the EFCA’s director of Chaplain Ministries since retiring from naval chaplaincy in 2004.
Bebee’s duties are numerous, ranging from recruitment to endorsement, communication to administration, setting policy to holding retreats and conferences. Bebee visits, mentors and prays for 61 EFCA military chaplains serving all branches of the U.S. military; 123 institutional chaplains serving in hospitals, prisons, schools, police and fire departments and more; and 56 candidates preparing for full chaplaincy service with the EFCA.
“Roy ministers to more chaplains than most of our district superintendents minister to pastors,” says EFCA President Bill Hamel. “And they [chaplains] have direct access to more nonbelievers every day than any pastor.”
These chaplains who serve under Bebee’s oversight are actively pastoring Christian believers as well as speaking of faith with nonbelievers, all while leading worship services, conducting weddings, funerals and dedications, and offering counseling and crisis intervention.
It’s a daunting task, but well worth it, in Bebee’s estimation.
And chaplaincy is vital to the EFCA, Bebee contends, because it expands “the church’s influence into our world in need of Christ.”