Rear Admiral Mark Tidd returned to Fuller to speak to students
Chief of Navy Chaplains Mark Tidd
Graduating from Fuller Seminary in June 1983, almost 30
years ago, today's Chief of Navy Chaplains, Rear Admiral Mark Tidd, and his wife,
Jennifer, had no idea of the adventures that lay ahead of them. As the guest speaker at Fuller’s All-Seminary
Chapel, Tidd referenced God’s hand guiding and supporting his family all along
“In reflecting on Psalm 139, there’s no place where we can
go where God hasn’t already gone before us preparing the way,” said Tidd. “Our God is such an incredible God--he will
never abandon us--and that’s true whether we ascend to the heavens, whether we
make our bed in the depths, or whether we dwell at the uttermost ends of the
sea--his hand will hold me and guide me. “
When Tidd arrived at Fuller, he entered the Theological
Student Program and was commissioned as an officer and Navy chaplain candidate.
This program is now the Chaplain Candidate Program.
“We thought this may be an area of ministry that we wanted
to pursue, but weren’t sure, so part of the discernment process was studying
here at Fuller,” said Tidd.
Both he and his wife talked with chaplains and their
families in the local area about their experiences in ministry. Although they continued to feel a leaning
toward the chaplaincy, a final confirmation would come during the course of
their time at Fuller.
Before attending Fuller and receiving his commission in the
Navy, Tidd was able to begin his preparation for ministry with the Dale House Project in Colorado Springs, reaching out to delinquent, neglected, and abused
teenagers in community living. This is
also where he met his wife, who worked on the staff of the Dale House. He also took
some courses through the Institute of Youth Ministries in Colorado Springs, a
partnership between Young Life and Fuller.
“Coming to Fuller, with its incredibly diverse student body,
was a wonderful preparation for working with people from a variety of religious
expressions and experience that we see in the military,” said Tidd.
He also referenced that working alongside Protestant
denominations, and other parts of the Christian body, was wonderful training
for working with chaplains--who come from across the spectrum of Christian
practices, as well as other religious traditions such as Islam, Judaism, and
Tidd’s education also included a quarter of Clinical
Pastoral Education, working at the Pomona Valley Community Hospital with recovering
alcoholics, and interning at a local church in Sierra Madre, providing immediate
“Bringing all of those elements together was part of the
Fuller experience in my perspective, and that was just great preparation in
ways I didn’t even imagine at the time,” he said.
As the Chief of Navy Chaplains, Tidd is the chief officer
responsible for the spiritual well being of all U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and
Coast Guard personnel, which is no easy task.
But he’s not doing it alone.
“God is faithful,” he said.
“We may not always know what the future will hold for us, but our God is
faithful, and will never abandon us.”