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Press Release

Four Chaplains Day
Jew, Protestant, Catholic: America Realizing Diversity
 
Monday, January 16, 2017
by M Groogan

Jew, Protestant, Catholic: America Realizing Diversity

Houston, TX – For the first time, the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center and Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston have partnered to bring an important moment of history to the forefront by recognizing Four Chaplains Day.  The community is invited to remember the sacrifice of the Four Chaplains and to honor their legacy on Friday, February 3 at 11:30 a.m. at the Merfish Center located at 9000 South Rice Ave.

The Four Chaplains, also referred to as the “Immortal Chaplains” or the “Dorchester Chaplains,” were four United States Army chaplains who gave their lives to save other civilian and military personnel as the troop ship U.S. Army Transport (USAT) Dorchester sank on February 3, 1943 during World War II. The chaplains, a Methodist minister, Rev. George L. Fox; a Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, of the Reform movement; a Roman Catholic priest, Rev. John P. Washington; and a Reformed Church in America minister, Rev. Clark V. Poling, joined arms, said prayers and sang hymns as they went down with the ship.

This event was the catalyst for Americans to embrace interfaith understanding. Until the Dorchester, there was no mention in print of Catholics, Protestants and Jews working together in this manner, especially in prayer. It was a transformational moment for America, the first time all three religious traditions were recognized by the mainstream population as serving together and with common purpose.

“This time of remembrance not only recalls a solemn and special moment of unity and sacrifice, but also can be an event that inspires us to continue this work of interreligous understanding, cooperation, and service in our day and time. This is a message our country truly needs at this moment,” said the Rev. Gregory Han, Director of Interfaith Relations, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston.

In 1988, Congress established February 3rd as “Four Chaplains Day.”  The Four Chaplains Day memorial service in Houston will include the posting of colors by the ROTC Color Guard from the Houston Math, Science and Technology Center, tributes to the Four Chaplains, a solo of “America, the Beautiful,” and recognition of each military branch of service by their song.  This program is being made possible by the support of Honor Veterans Now.

To learn more about the Four Chaplains Day Memorial Service and make reservations to attend contact Morgan Steinberg at msteinberg@erjcchouston.org or 713.595.8170. Visit www.erjcchouston.org for more information about our programs and services. Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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