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National VA Chaplain Service

Chaplain Ecclesiastical Endorsement

Ecclesiastical endorsement is verification by an Ecclesiastical Endorsing Organization that an authorized minister or practitioner is in good standing, has gained the necessary qualifying education and experience, as well as being willing and capable of working collegially in a religiously and culturally pluralistic setting without prejudice. 

One of the qualifications to be considered as a VA Chaplain, is an ecclesiastical endorsement.
  •   In accordance with 38 C.F.R. § 17.655, ecclesiastical endorsement is a condition of employment as a VA chaplain.
  •   An individual must possess and maintain a full and active ecclesiastical endorsement to be employed as a VA chaplain.
  •   Applicants must have an ecclesiastical endorsement, dated within the past 12 months.
  •   Ecclesiastical endorsements must be from the official national endorsing authority of the applicant's/employee's faith group or denomination.
  •   Ecclesiastical endorsement is a written official statement, by the official national endorsing body of the faith group or denomination, certifying that the applicant is in good standing with the applicant's faith group or denomination; and stating that the individual is, in the opinion of the endorsing body, qualified to perform the full range of ministry required in the VA pluralistic setting. 

Ecclesiastical Endorsement Documents:

  • VA Form 10-253 (pdf) – This is the form which an Ecclesiastical Endorsing Organization provides to a minister or practitioner in their organization.  The person who is then endorsed by this organization will submit the document to the local VA Medical Center to which they are applying for a local VA Chaplain position.
  • VA Form 10-0379 (pdf) – This is the form and the instructions which a Ecclesiastical Organization completes and submits to to request being recognized as an Ecclesiastical Endorsing Organization for VA. 
  • Ecclesiastical Endorsing Organizations (xls) or (pdf format)  – This is the complete list of Ecclesiastical Organizations that the Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes as Ecclesiastical Endorsing Organizations.