Published on March 29, 2022 by Kaelan Clay  
Kaelan Clay

Beeson alumnus Kaelan Clay (M.Div. '08) is the provost and dean of The Special Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy for the Anglican Church in North America and is the Squadron Chaplain at Destroyer Squadron TWO. As a Lieutenant Commander, he is currently deployed aboard the USS San Jacinto.

Kaelan was interviewed by Dean Doug Sweeney and Kristen Padilla for the Beeson podcast about Navy chaplaincy. During the interview, he read a poem he wrote about serving as a chaplain. Read the poem below and then listen to him read it on the Beeson podcast.

A Chaplain’s Lament and Lesson

I remember not why I am so distressed.
Years have passed of those who I have laid to rest.
Breaking bread, listening ear, burial rite, and sermon.
I am here they are there, where is the dew from Hermon.[1]
There is a grief in chaplaincy that longs for something more.
“One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism” together we adore.[2]
Growing and knowing the Lord above is every pastor’s calling,
But to do it alone and by myself is not my heartfelt longing. [3]
There is a vision, in humanity, of another shore
It has no death, no loss, no grief, it knows nothing of war.

If there is one thing that I would say to the next generation,
Learn to grieve in this life, make it not an aberration.
If you do not grieve, you will never know,
The abundant comfort of our Lord, for which He longs to show.
But when you mourn and are made contrite,
His Dawn out-shines the darkest night.
His Spirit “seals” and “promises” you,
Gives power, hope, and joy too. [4]
For in this life, one thing is sure,
You were created for so much more.

Learn more about preparing for chaplaincy through Beeson Divinity's Master of Divinity program.


[1] Reference to Psa. 133.3 “the dew of Mt Hermon,” symbolizing blessing and covenantal promise.

[2] Reference to Eph. 4.4-6.  4 “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

[3] This sentence describes my grief, as it contrasts war’s disunion and annihilation with the Lord’s union with us and each other and our part in the creative process.

[4] Reference to Eph. 1.13.  13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee[a] of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,[b] to the praise of his glory.