On May 24, at 3 p.m. at the Towanda Universalist Unitarian (UU) Fellowship on Second Steet in Towanda, Rev. (CPT) David Pyle was welcomed to their fellowship. Rev. Pyle is an Army Reservist Chaplain, a UU Minister and the Executive Director of the Joseph Priestly District of the UUA. Wearing full U.S. Army Reserve dress uniform, he spoke eloquently and passionately about the role of the Chaplain in the military and his experiences as he serves and ministers as a chaplain in the armed forces.
Rev. Pyle conducts funerals and memorial services, and spoke about a time when he was in the Army Graduate School, and had shadowed the Military Chaplains who work tirelessly at Arlington National Cemetery providing several formal military funeral services a day for four to five days a week. He described the admirable devotion and tirelessness of these highly trained chaplains.
Rev. Pyle also spoke about the many Universalist Unitarian (UU) graves at Arlington. Each UU grave has a chalice on the headstone, the chalice being the symbol of the UU faith. There is nowhere else in the world where one will find more chalices than at Arlington. Several of the UUs interred there represent pioneers in many fields, including Laurel Clark, (March 10, 1961 – Feb. 1, 2003) who was a medical doctor, a United States Navy Captain, a NASA Astronaut, and a Shuttle mission specialist who died sadly in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.
There are 17 UU chaplains currently in the military. Rebecca Young is one who was named chaplain of the year. Three quarters of the chaplains are female. The UU chaplains serve any and all service people. They are the bridge builders connecting other faiths.
Rev. Pyle also explained that chaplains are non-combatants, and has such has a guard assigned to him should he have to go into the field to minister to active duty troops. Rev. Pyle has much joy in performing these services for people of all faiths. As a UU, all people, all religions and belief systems are considered valid and worth respect without prejudice.
Background on Rev. Pyle includes the fact that he is a Unitarian Universalist Minister who also serves as the District Executive of the Joseph Priestley District, which includes the 71 UU Congregations of Maryland, Delaware, Northern Virginia, Central and Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Washington D.C. He is a member of the staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.
Rev. Pyle holds degrees from East Tennessee State University and the Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. He completed a Hospital Chaplaincy Residency at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. Rev. Pyle has served as a minister for UU congregations in Illinois, Michigan and California, and since 2007 has served as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain Corps.
They were honored to have Rev. Pyle come to their Memorial Sunday service, and the visit was enjoyed by all. Please visit TowandaUniversalistUnitarianFellowship.org for more information on their Fellowship, and do drop in on Sundays at 3 p.m. for what is always a very interesting service and enjoy their conversation. They welcome all. The coffee pot is always on.