Alumni Distinguished Service Award presented to a Spiritual Leader in the Canadian Armed Forces

Wolfville, NS, August 24, 2018 – Acadia Divinity College (ADC) President, Rev. Dr. Harry Gardner, today announced the College’s annual alumni distinguished service award recipient during its friends and alumni supper. The supper and reception were part of the annual meeting of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada, this year being held on the campus of Acadia University.

Dr. Gardner, who is also Acadia’s Dean of Theology, said, The 2018-2019 academic year marks the 50th anniversary of Acadia Divinity College. While the work of preparing individuals for Christian ministry dates back 180 years to the founding of Acadia University, the College as we know it today was formed in 1968. Together with Acadia, we are proud of our record of theological education that has produced generations of effective leaders for the local church and other ministry settings.

“When we think about the alumni of this institution, we cannot help but be inspired by those who seek to be a presence of Christ in challenging places such as battlefields, hospitals, prisons, and many other settings within our communities. So, too, is the remarkable individual we are recognizing for our Alumni Distinguished Service Award — Colonel (Reverend) Barbara L. Putnam — who has established herself as a leader in the Canadian Armed Forces. This is particularly relevant this year as we also recognize the 100th anniversary since the Signing of the Armistice that ended the Great War.”

“In my leadership role, I am aware of the ministry challenges we face every day to build the spiritual wellness and resilience of our Soldiers, Sailors, and Aviators, and their families,” said  Colonel (Rev) Putnam. “Every day when I look down at my Acadia University graduation ring and see Athena, I am reminded that I have been called to serve, and what an amazing privilege it is to serve these men and women in the Canadian Forces. Our advanced training and education is critical to our ability to minister in this complex operating environment. Many of our Baptist chaplains have their theological roots at Acadia Divinity College and serve with distinction in the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service.”

The College is widely recognized for chaplaincy training through the work of the Charles J. Taylor Centre for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care and the chaplaincy specializations in both the Acadia Master of Divinity and the Acadia Master of Arts (Theology) programs.

Rev. Joseph Green, Director of the Taylor Centre, said, Like Col. Putnam, Dr. Charles Taylor served in the Canadian military (Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War), was educated at Acadia, and pastored a local church. As both a professor of Acadia University and Acadia Divinity College, he pioneered clinical pastoral education in Canada, creating training programs for those who provide pastoral care in an institutional setting. Leading by example, he volunteered for 40 years in federal penitentiaries. Dr. Taylor dedicated his life to serving those on the fringes of society.”

About Colonel (Reverend) Barbara L. Putnam

Col. Putnam was born and raised in Saint John, New Brunswick. After graduating from the University of New Brunswick (Bachelor of Science) she enrolled at Acadia Divinity College where she earned a Master of Divinity degree. Following her studies, Col Putnam was ordained in 1996 and served as pastor in Baptist churches in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Recruited to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in 2000 as a Direct Entry Officer, she began her career in Petawawa as a Unit Chaplain to 2 Service Battalion and 1 Canadian Field Hospital, deploying to Kabul, Afghanistan, on Operation ATHENA Roto 0. In 2004, she was posted to 5 Division as Faith Community Coordinator at St. Luke’s Chapel, Gagetown, and the Unit Chaplain to 403 Squadron. Following year-long language training in 2007, she was promoted to the rank of Major and posted to the Chaplain School and Centre at Canadian Forces Base Borden to serve as the Senior Standards Officer.

In 2010, Col Putnam was selected for the Joint Command and Staff Program at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. After graduation, she became the Staff Officer to the Chaplain General in Ottawa and appointed as the National Protestant Guild Advisor. In 2011, promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, she assumed the role of Deputy Director of Chaplain Services, responsible for Recruitment, Policy and Lessons Learned. That same year she was also appointed as Principal Chaplain Protestant, an advisory role to the Chaplain General, with responsibility for overseeing all aspects of religious services for Protestant members of the CAF.

In 2012 she was named the Command Chaplain to the Royal Canadian Air Force and subsequently became the Spiritual Advisor to the Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct at its inception in 2015. Upon promotion to her current rank in December 2016, she became the Director of Chaplaincy Operations and the Senior Protestant Chaplain. In 2018 she was appointed as Director of Chaplain Strategic Support and Chief of Staff to the Chaplain General.

About the Charles J. Taylor Centre for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care

The Charles J. Taylor Centre for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care was established by Acadia Divinity College in 2011. This Centre fosters and promotes clinical and theological excellence in the area of Pastoral Care through personal growth, the building of professional capacities and rigorous theological reflection. The Taylor Centre trains and prepares men and women for pastoral ministry in specialized forms, including hospital chaplaincy, military chaplaincy, prison chaplaincy, and a variety of other caring professions, for which care for the Spirit is of primary importance.

About Acadia Divinity College

Acadia Divinity College is the Faculty of Theology at Acadia University and is the official seminary of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada. Acadia Divinity College offers theological education at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, equipping men and women for leadership roles in churches, chaplaincies, denominational leadership, university and seminary teaching, cross-cultural mission, para-church leadership, and other areas of ministry. Graduate degrees are approved by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. All degrees are awarded by Acadia University.

For more information about Acadia Divinity College, visit our website at www.acadiadiv.ca.