He remained in the Navy from 1994 until 2005 where he had various
assignments including serving three years as a chaplain for the United
States Marine Corps. In 2005
Chris transferred into the Air National Guard where he was the Wing
Chaplain for the 108th Wing at Joint Base
McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst until his retirement from the military in 2014.
During his time in the military, Chris
has been deployed to Guam in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM
(2008) and Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and
Operation NEW DAWN (2010).
Chris earned an Associates of Arts in
English Humanities from Salem County Community College (1990), a
Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from Thomas A. Edison State College
(1992), a Master of Divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary
(1996), and a Master of Military Operational Art and Science at Air
Command and Staff College (OLMP), Maxwell Air Force Base (2010).
Chris was married to Linda Rae Eckman
on August 12, 1978 and they have two adult daughters (Adia Rae Speer and
Danica Lin Miller) and five grandchildren.
In 1998 a very special baby was born (Shawn Dupri Ward) and Linda
and Chris cared for him for two and a half years and he is still a very
important part of their lives today.
When thinking about his role as
Pastor, Chris believes that it is to faithfully serve the church in the
key areas of word, order, sacrament, and pastoral care while equipping,
encouraging, and empowering the members of the church to faithfully
serve their community and the world as disciples of Jesus Christ called
into ministry through baptism. Chris
has a passion for outreach ministry seeking to make a difference in the
lives of people for whom Jesus died.
In his “free” time, Chris enjoys
swimming, working out, sailing and boating, backpacking, and camping.