Chaplain Ministries Staff Bios

 

Jim Carter, Coordinator

Gary Hitzfeld, Administrative Assistant

Mack Griffith, Associate Coordinator

Del Farris, Associate Coordinator

 

 


Chaplain James “Jim” Carter

Executive Director
Presbyterian and Reformed Commission
For Chaplain and Military Personnel (PRCC)
MNA Chaplain Ministries Coordinator

Dr. Jim Carter accepted the call to serve as the next PRCC Executive Director and began his ministry on September 1st, 2017. Dr. Carter returned to the PRCC Commission after serving in a local pastorate for the past six years. He served as the Founding and Senior Pastor of the New Presbyterian Church (NPC) in South Florida. In addition to regular  pastoral duties, Dr. Carter led the church through relocation, a capital campaign and a debt free renovation. Jim retired from a very successful military ministry career in the Army Chaplaincy after reaching the rank of Colonel and serving in that rank for sixteen months. Yielding to God’s call Jim retired from active duty to plant NPC. It is encouraging to have a gifted Chaplain and spiritual leader of Jim’s unique background following our previous godly Executive Directors. Dr. Carter understands both the rigors and challenges of military ministry life as well as the civilian ministry and brings a Shepherd’s heart to the daily ministry of the PRCC. He is passionate to serve the military and civilian Chaplains and military personnel as well as their family members. Here is a little more information about Chaplain Jim Carter.

Chaplain James R. “Jim” Carter was born October 30, 1960 and is a native of Monroeville, Alabama. After attending Belhaven College and Reformed Theological Seminary and receiving his ordination as a Presbyterian Minister (PCA), Jim entered the Army Chaplain Corps in 1988. He previously served in the Army Reserves as a Second Lieutenant Chaplain Candidate from 1986-1988.

Chaplain Carter degrees include a Bachelors of Art from Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi; a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi and a Doctor of Ministry from Erskine Theological Seminary, Due West, South Carolina. Chaplain Carter’s military education includes the U.S. Army Chaplain Basic Course and Advanced Courses, Combined Arms Service Staff School (CAS3), the Command and General Staff College, and the Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Course.

Chaplain Carter served over 23 years within the Army Chaplaincy. He held numerous military ministry leadership positions and has served in two combat tours. His assignments include: 24th Infantry Division, 3rd Engineer Battalion (Combat), Fort Stewart, Georgia; 2-7 Infantry Battalion, Fort Stewart, Georgia with  a combat tour in Saudi Arabia-Iraq (Operation Desert Shield and Storm); 59th Ordnance Brigade, Sogel, Germany; 409th Base Support Battalion, Grafenwoehr, Germany; 4-5 Field Artillery Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas and 4-1 Field Artillery Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas, and 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Riley, Kansas; Area III Installation Chaplain, Camp Humphrey’s, Korea; Brigade Combat Training Religious Support Observer Controller (BCTP), Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; 3rd Regiment and Senior Pastor of the West Point Cadet Chapel, United States Corps of Cadets, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York; Deputy Installation Chaplain and Chief of Religious Support Operations, Fort Bliss, Texas; 4th Infantry Division Chaplain, Fort Hood, Texas and Multi-National Division Baghdad Command Chaplain, (MND-B) Baghdad, Iraq (Operational Iraqi Freedom (OIF 07-09); Senior Pastor of the Protestant Congregation and Deputy Installation Chaplain, United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

Chaplain Carter’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with two Stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.

Chaplain Carter is married to the former Terri Ganey of Mullins, South Carolina and they have two children, Sarah (24) and David (21). He enjoys sports, tennis, traveling, reading and serving his local community.

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RE Gary Hitzfeld
MNA Chaplain Ministries/PRCC Administrative Assistant

Gary was born in Alice, TX on December 15, 1947. He resided in Texas until 1984, when his work in financial management with regional department stores took him to Des Moines, IA as Controller for Younkers. He met and married his wife Diane in 1987. They received Christ the same year and soon afterward, the Lord took them to Hattiesburg, MS for employment. By an act of providence, they stepped into the wrong church building one Sunday morning, and (now PCA Stated Clerk) L. Roy Taylor was used by God to help them find their church home in the PCA.

The Lord called Gary and Diane to full-time administrative ministry at a missions conference at First Presbyterian Church where Gary was ordained an Elder, having served previously as Chairman of the Diaconate. In 1999, they sold their home in Hattiesburg and moved to the Atlanta, GA area, raising support to work for Dr. Archie Parrish and Serve International, Inc. The Hitzfelds helped Dr. Parrish develop the Kingdom Campaign Prayer Training materials (www.Kingdomprayer.org), and Gary assisted with prayer conferences around the country.

Gary’s assistance to Archie included the church revitalization ministry of MNA. When Archie retired as MNA Coordinator for Church Vitality, Dave Peterson hired Gary in 2004 as Administrative Assistant for MNA Chaplain Ministries,.

Gary and Diane have relocated to a small ranch outside of Cuero, TX, near San Antonio. Diane is the Communications Director for Desire Street Ministries, and in their free time, they enjoy their dogs, cats, and Arabian horses.

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Mack Griffith

Chaplain (COL) Mack Griffith
United States Army Reserve, Retired
Formerly Director of Family Ministry, United States Army Reserve
Associate Director, Presbyterian and Reformed Chaplain Commission (PRCC)
MNA Chaplain Ministries Associate Coordinator, Military Chaplaincy

Chaplain Griffith was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in 1983 serving as a Signal Battalion Chaplain in the Florida Army Guard. In 1987 he transferred to the North Carolina Air National Guard serving as a Chaplain with the Military Airlift Command, C130 Aircraft. Returning to the Army Chaplaincy in 1991, Chaplain Griffith served as Group Chaplain for the 426th Area Support Group and then later as Brigade Chaplain for the 31st Armor Brigade. In 2004 he went on active duty serving as the Director of Family Ministry for the United States Army Reserve. At his retirement ceremony he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his service to Soldiers and Families. Chaplain Griffith retired from the Army 15 November 2011.

Mack is a Florida native, growing up in a Christian home, active members of the McIlwain Memorial Presbyterian Church in Pensacola. Chaplain Griffith graduated from Pensacola Christian High School, and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University in 1972. Upon graduation from college Chaplain Griffith worked in the office of the Court Administrator of the Florida Supreme Court. He then served as the Deputy Court Administrator of the 10th Judicial Circuit of Florida. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. He is a graduate of the Army Chaplain Officer Basic Course, the Air Force Officer Orientation Course, the Air Force Chaplain Basic Course, the Army Chaplain Captain Career Course, Command and General Staff College, Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Course and the Chaplain Colonel Course. Chaplain Griffith was promoted to the rank of Colonel March 2007.

Chaplain Griffith has been a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America for 39 years. He first served as Pastor of Lebanon Presbyterian Church, Learned Mississippi from 1979-1981 and Associate Pastor of McIlwain Presbyterian Church 1981-1987. From 1987-1990 he served as Associate Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Rock Hill, South Carolina. He then was Senior Pastor of Eastern Shore Presbyterian Church, Fairhope Alabama 1990-2000. From 2000-2004 Chaplain Griffith served as Ministry Director of Ridge Haven Conference Center, Brevard North Carolina before being called to active duty as an Army Chaplain. He was endorsed as a Chaplain his entire military career by the Presbyterian Reformed Chaplain Commission (PRCC), and served for two years as a member of the Commission before assuming his current role of Associate Director of the PRCC.

Chaplain Griffith has been married to his wife Chris for 46 years, they have two daughters, Catherine and Bethany, and three granddaughters, Mary Blake, Anna and Ruthie. Catherine is a pediatric nurse at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham Alabama and is married to Gary Noah a firefighter and paramedic. They are active members of Oak Mountain PCA where Gary serves as a deacon. Bethany formerly served with Campus Outreach in South Carolina and then served as the Director of the Westside Children’s Ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in New York City and then as the Children’s Director at Oak Mountain Presbyterian in Birmingham. Bethany is now married to Dustin Belue who is a student at RTS Atlanta and is interning at Perimeter Church (PCA). Bethany is currently serving on staff with the Committee on Discipleship Ministries PCA.

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Del Farris

Del Farris
Associate Director for Civilian Chaplaincy, Presbyterian and Reformed Chaplain Commission (PRCC)
MNA Chaplain Ministries Associate Coordinator, Civilian Chaplaincy

I am thrilled and extremely thankful that God in His providence has opened the opportunity for me to become the PRCC’s Associate Director for Civilian Chaplaincy. It is a great honor and privilege to serve my fellow civilian chaplains and to assist as needed with serving our military chaplains. What follows is a brief recount of how the Lord has used me through the years – all to His glory!

I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas but went away for college to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. I received a B.A. degree in Journalism from LSU and following college went to work for Young Life in Kansas City, Missouri for a year before becoming the Area Director for Young Life in Odessa, Texas. I left West Texas for Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi and received a Master of Divinity degree from RTS in 1985.

After seminary I taught Old Testament and New Testament at the Episcopal High School in Houston, Texas and was an assistant basketball coach. (The director of the Religion Department defended hiring a Presbyterian by saying he couldn’t find any Episcopalians qualified to teach the Bible, and the headmaster and Bishop accepted that explanation. And when you see me, you will know that being a basketball coach is also quite funny.) I then served as an assistant pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Little Rock before becoming the solo pastor of a church in North Carolina. I have been a Teaching Elder in the PCA for 27 years.

My chaplaincy experience began nearly 22 years ago in September of 1991after our family (my wife Hazel and two children, son Loddrick and daughter Hannah) needed to return to Arkansas following the pastorate in North Carolina. I began as an on-call chaplain at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) in Little Rock. By the spring of 1992, two other chaplain positions became available to me, one as a fee-basis chaplain for the Central Arkansas Veterans Affairs Hospital System and the other as a hospice chaplain. I continued as a chaplain for all three until I became the Director of the Pastoral Care Department at ACH in May 1995. I have been the Director of Pastoral Care ever since – until now.

I have been involved in the national leadership of the Pediatric Chaplains Network (PCN) since 1998 and served as President from 2003-2005. I was the Project Coordinator for the PCN’s development of a national training curriculum specific to pediatric chaplaincy. The Pediatric Chaplains Institute (PCI) was founded in 2007 as a week-long intensive training using the new curriculum. I have served as the Dean of the PCI since its beginning.

I have been a member of the ACH Bioethics Advisory Committee for 18 years, and I received a Certificate in Clinical Bioethics in 2001 from the Medical College of Wisconsin. Last year I was elected the first non-physican co-chairman of the Bioethics Committee. I served on the faculty at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in the Medical Humanities Department for 10 years assisting with teaching Medical Ethics to second year medical students. In 1998 I began ACH’s palliative care program (PalCare) and served as Director of PalCare until 2006 while continuing to be the Director of Pastoral Care.

And saving the best for last, I became a grandfather for the first time in October 2012. All praise and glory to our great Savior and King!

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