National chaplains’ convention comes back to Clanton

Published 10:55 am Tuesday, May 24, 2011

For the second year in a row, the United States Corps of Chaplains will host its national convention in Clanton.

The convention, to be held July 15-17, looks to bring chaplains from all over the country to Clanton for training and discussions.

The United States Corps of Chaplains, or USCOC, is a Christian-based volunteer service organization that ministers to several different areas. The group emphasizes military ministry and is open to all United States citizens.

“It’s open to anyone who wants to extend service to veterans,” said USCOC National Commander Phil Burnette, who lives in Chilton County. “The only requirement for membership is that it is within the parameters of Christianity.”

Burnette went on to say that while it is a Christian organization, USCOC doesn’t have any requirements for those needing help.

“We’ll serve anybody and help anybody,” he said. “We don’t discriminate there.”

The organization has members in 38 states, and Burnette says they’re looking to expand. What many don’t realize is that the national headquarters is located in Clanton.

“It was luck of the draw [that Clanton was selected],” he said. “We voted on a National Commander, and I was named to it, and I live here, so we based it here.”

While USCOC is not tied to any branch of the military, members do have their own uniforms and the hierarchy of the organization is set up military style. The country is divided into east and west, and each state is considered a brigade. All rankings are military based.

“It’s a structure that works,” said Burnette, who served in the Air Force for 10 years. “It was something we were all familiar with.”

The conference will be held at the Guesthouse International Inn. For more information, contact Burnette at 287-4386.