The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) has appointed the Rev. Kempton D. Baldridge to serve as its new Ministry on the River (MOR) chaplain, serving the Ohio River region, effective June 1.
Based from SCI’s Paducah, KY Center for Maritime Education, Chaplain Baldridge will serve mariners along the Ohio River plus river regions surrounding Nashville, St. Louis, and Memphis. In addition to his direct care for mariners and their shore-side counterparts, Chaplain Baldridge strengthens a network of River Friendly Churches who partner with SCI to provide ministry to mariners.
With more than 20 years of ordained experience, Chaplain Baldridge brings a wealth of ministry experience to river chaplaincy. An Active and Reserve US Navy Chaplain, Baldridge completed many domestic and overseas assignments between 1988-1998, including Operation Desert Storm. Chaplain Baldridge also pursued campus ministry at the University of Delaware from 1993-1999. Since 1999, he has served as rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Waterloo, Belgium.
As a young man, Chaplain Baldridge served his country in the US Coast Guard as Petty Officer (QM3). He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history at The Citadel in Charleston, SC and his Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.) from Yale Divinity School. In addition to his extensive military and academic chaplaincy training, Baldridge holds a certification in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM).
No stranger to SCI, Chaplain Baldridge has long hoped to connect his love for maritime ministry with SCI’s chaplain vacancies. After announcing his resignation to his current parishioners, Chaplain Baldridge said, “Because they know me so well, most know that this is nothing less than a dream come true for me personally, and they are sharing in our joy. [My wife] Isabel and I are excited to become part of SCI and look forward to serving with the other members of SCI’s extended family.”
SCI’s President & Executive Director, the Rev. David M. Rider, expressed delight at Chaplain Baldridge’s appointment. “I am thrilled to welcome Kempton and Isabel to SCI and to the town of Paducah. Kempton brings a unique combination of experience, compassion, and enthusiasm that will support mariners and the river industry for years to come.”
SCI’s MOR serves mariners along more than 2000 miles of inland waterways. The Rev. Mike Hammett, a former U.S. Air Force chaplain and ordained Methodist minister, serves as SCI’s chaplain along the lower Mississippi River, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and Houston ship channel. Ms. Ann Mills served on the MOR team, recently completing her ministry in January. The Rev. James R. Wilkinson has served more than a decade as MOR chaplain based in Louisville, KY. Chaplain Wilkinson, a retired US Army chaplain, will retire from SCI service on April 30, 2010.