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Chaplain looks after matters of the spirit
matters of the spirit - Chaplain Taylor
Chaplain (Maj.) Sid A. Taylor, a 15-year Army veteran, is a National Baptist minister and U.S. Army chaplain. - photo by U.S. Army photo
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq — While U.S. soldiers concentrate on training Iraqi security forces to provide a safe and secure environment for themselves, one Richmond, Va., resident is just as busy, providing a welcome respite for matters of the spirit.
Chaplain Maj. Sid A. Taylor, a 15-year Army veteran, is a National Baptist minister and U.S. Army chaplain.  As the chaplain for 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, it’s his responsibility to meet the spiritual needs of more than 4,000 soldiers serving throughout Iraq’s Ninewa Province.
“Here in the brigade, chaplains are like crazy glue,” Taylor said with a smile, “They’re spread thin, but they secretly hold the organization together.”
At FOBs Marez and Diamondback, there are six Protestant services, five Masses, one Latter-Day Saints service, an Islamic prayer room and a Jewish meeting held each week. Services can range from as many as 80 attendees to a small handful.
 As always, the emphasis is on the “being” of a soldier and not necessarily his profession.
“While we support their profession, we wish they were out of business.”  Taylor said. “However, it’s what we do. Much like a lawyer, or a businessman, a soldier not only needs, but deserves, to have his soul and emotions cared for.”
In the military, a chaplain must maintain their devotional focus, so they can serve as God’s representative, both to their soldiers and to the command. It’s imperative they sustain a single-minded purpose, when it comes to matters of the spirit.
“In the Bible, when the Angel Gabriel told Mary her son would be the light of the world, her response was ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May it be unto me as you have said,” Taylor said.  “My theme, my credo, is that very same response.”
A 1982 graduate of Hopewell (Va.) High School, the chaplain played football and basketball and sang tenor in the school chorus. He feels his spiritual growth began as early as junior high, where his church, school and social experiences provided a rich foundation.
This growth continued after earning his bachelor’s degree (1986) and master’s degree (1988) in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University and then serving as a social worker and a member of the Virginia National Guard.
It was then that Taylor began seeing a clearer picture of what God had in store for him.
“For me, it was more of a gradual acceptance,” he said.  “God was providing me with all these people skills and a love of people helped prepare me for work as a pastor, or chaplain.”
Once there was acceptance, his focus became a matter of training.
“I needed to be trained and properly equipped to do the work of the Lord, and with the aid of the Holy Spirit, to do so competently and efficiently,” Taylor said.
His journey led him to the Virginia Union University School of Theology where, as a weekend seminary student, he continued working as a social worker.  He also was accepted into the Army Reserve’s Chaplain Candidate Program. Three years later, he earned his master of divinity and was commissioned as an Army chaplain.
In August 2008, Taylor assumed duties as the 2BCT chaplain, deploying to Iraq with the brigade in October 2009.
“The Army understands the importance of values, morals and integrity in everything we do. Soldiers have emotions and families. They also have a soul that needs to be sustained in order to do what they do,” he said.
Taylor is married to another Army chaplain, Chaplain Maj. Grace R. Hollis-Taylor, who is currently deployed to Afghanistan with a Combat Aviation Brigade. They have two teenage sons.
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