Ohio Conference Pastor Serves as Law Enforcement Chaplain
Story by Heidi Shoemaker
Last fall pastors and chaplains from across the Ohio Conference were asked if they had ministries at hospitals, prisons or with law enforcement/first responders. Marius E. Marton, senior pastor of the Elyria district, shares his story:
Lorain County Sheriff Phil R. Stammitti swore me in as a civilian deputy to serve as chaplain in March 2017.
The Lorain County Sheriff’s office consists of different departments such as the traffic patrol unit, detective bureau, jail, etc. My duties include ride-alongs with the deputies in their patrol cars to know them better and to provide pastoral counseling as needed. I help them handle stress, balance family life with work schedules, listen to them, pray with them and make sure they are at their best performance spiritually and mentally. Sometimes I assist these deputies with death notifications, going with them as they notify the family of the deceased.
The jail is at the rear of the Sheriff’s office. I listen to the correctional officers and offer pastoral counseling, pray with them and anything else that might require chaplains’ services. My most important responsibility is to be available for these deputies and officers when needed.
In November 2017, the Elyria church hosted a concert for the Lorain County Sheriff’s office. With the help and support of the church, I hired 23 professional musicians, including a small chamber orchestra and four opera singers. The concert included old hymns arranged for this ensemble, old favorites from Vivaldi, Handel’s “Messiah” and some personal compositions. During the concert, I had the opportunity to introduce law enforcement officials, musicians and guests to Ellen White’s books and testimony. This mission opportunity allowed me to present a copy of The Desire of Ages, along with a certificate of appreciation, to Stammitti (pictured) and Elyria Mayor Holly C. Brinda.
Every Monday when I get to my office at the Lorain County Sheriff’s office, I begin the day praying for each employee—that God will keep them safe and provide me opportunities to pray with them and share God’s love through my words and actions. Before I leave the office, I pray once more that God will keep them safe until I am back the following week. It is a privilege and joy for me to serve as a law enforcement chaplain.