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The Rev. Chuck Mitchell (left) anoints an officer's badge during the

Photo courtesy of Chuck Mitchell

The Rev. Chuck Mitchell (left) anoints an officer's badge during the "Blessing of the Badges" service at Dobbins United Methodist Church in Delanco, N.J.

Photo courtesy of Chuck Mitchell

Scenes from the Blessing of the Badges at Dobbins United Methodist Church in New Jersey.

Photo courtesy of Chuck Mitchell

Officers await the blessing and anointing of their badges during the service at Dobbins United Methodist Church in Delanco, New Jersey.

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Blessing of the badges

 

By Christine Kumar
May-June 2017

It Worked for Us

More than 100 police officers, fire fighters and emergency medical technicians filled the sanctuary of Dobbins United Methodist Church in Delanco, New Jersey, on Dec. 16, 2016, for a service of appreciation and blessing.

"With what is happening in our nation and suspicions rising against police, I wanted to connect with our police, fire and emergency squad and provide support to them," said the Rev. Chuck Mitchell, Dobbins' pastor. After talking with Delanco Township Mayor Kate Fitzpatrick and Police Chief Jesse DeSanto, he decided to have a Blessing of the Badges.

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Worship attendees heard about the origins of badges. As the emergency responders came forward for the blessing, Mitchell, Dave Gannon, youth leader from Dobbins, and the Rev. Donshae Joyner of My Friend's House, another ministry in Delanco that partnered with Dobbins, anointed their badges and foreheads with oil. They also anointed the badges that some of the officers carried for colleagues who could not be present.

Mitchell said the service was to show appreciation to the first responders. He wanted them to know that the church community cares, supports and wants to be present for them. "Each department expressed gratitude, grateful that we are supporting them," he said.

He was inspired after learning about the badge blessing that his friend Conni Murray organized at First United Methodist Church in Moorestown, New Jersey. "The bigger vision and hope is that other communities will provide this support to their police, fire and emergency departments," Mitchell said.