Photo: A chaplain hands a copy of Strength for Service to God and Country to a serviceman serving in Afghanistan.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. –– A total of 432,000 copies of Strength for Service to God and Country, have been distributed.
The 400-page book of daily devotions has primarily been distributed to deployed military personnel.
More than 16,000 books were distributed in 2010 to military units as the result of 105 requests from chaplains.
First published in 1942
The book was first published in 1942 shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Some 1 million copies were given to armed forces during World War II and the Korean conflict.
The book went out of print until 1999 when Evan Hunsberger, a Roman Catholic Boy Scout in Orange County, California, found a tattered copy on the bed stand of his grandfather. Eugene Hunsberger received the book while serving as a naval corpsman in World War II. Evan and his troop copied the devotions, added new ones and received permission from the United Methodist Publishing House, the original publisher, to reprint the volume. In 2001, the General Commission on United Methodist Men joined Hunsberger in his effort to get the books to U.S. service men and women.
“As you know, our military is being asked to do even more with less these next couple of years to support Afghanistan initiatives,” said Mike Solano, chaplain of the 149 Fighter Wing of the Texas Air National Guard. “Chaplain Corps have very limited if any funding while deployed. Your generosity makes the Strength for Service critical to military chaplains throughout the world! Many times it is the only source in addition to Bibles to put into the hands of our faithful men and women of the Armed Services to help them keep going and keep the faith during times of stress, need and loneliness. Know that your support will enable renewal of the church and make disciples across the world.”
Bryan S. Kimble, chaplain, Fourth Brigade Combat Team, Fort Hood, Texas, recently requested books for his 1,200-member battalion which was deployed to Afghanistan in September. “I am now doing double duty covering another battalion with another 1,000 soldiers that is without a chaplain,” said Kimble. “There is absolutely no religious-support material for either one.”
Boy Scout edition
A special edition of the book is now published for Boy Scouts, and some 14,000 copies have been sold since December, 2006, through BSA national and council-owned Scout shops.
Over 5,600 donors, including 2,500 UM Men’s groups have contributed to the Strength for Service Fund over the past nine years, according to a report by Larry Coppock, director of the fund.