The first director of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries passed away this month at age 94. Charles Martin served the Church's world headquarters as an associate youth director before he was appointed to oversee Chaplaincy efforts. Prior to that, he served as a youth director of an Adventist local field in the U.S. state of California. During that time he was responsible for the Church's National Service Organization, or NSO. In a 2010 interview, Martin said, "NSO activities focused on counseling young Adventists who faced the possibility of being drafted."
He and his family then moved to serve the Church in Singapore. Singapore was located in what the Seventh-day Adventist Church called its "Far Eastern" territory at the time. While there he served as youth director. In 1985, the Church's highest governing body, General Conference Session, appointed Martin as the first director of the General Conference Service of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries. It became a "department" in 1995.
According to Deena Bartel-Wagner, who serves as an editor and social media manager of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries, Martin was instrumental in laying the ministry's foundation. She says Martin established annual professional development conferences. The programs were specifically designed to address the needs of Adventist chaplains. He also facilitated efforts to help educate others about the work of chaplains.
Charles' wife, and mother of their 3 children, Pearl, proceeded him in death in 2009 after 62 years of marriage. In January 2010, Charles married Eleene, who preceded him in death in 2015. [photo: Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries]