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Washington, DC - Navy chaplains and religious program specialists (RP) validated the community's next Professional Development Training Course (PDTC) during a three-day event onboard Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.

The PDTC is offered annually by the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center for the Chaplain Corps and the RP community. The PDTC validation ensures the quality of the content for delivery to the Religious Ministry Teams (RMT) meets the Naval Education Training Command and International Association for Continuing Education and Training standards for delivering training. The PDTC addresses a single subject as selected by the program sponsor, the Navy Chief of Chaplains, to provide essential knowledge, skills and abilities for developing core competencies.

"This year's PDTC entitled, 'A Strategy for the Delivery of Religious Ministry to Nones, Dones and Millennials,' is designed to equip the Chaplain Corps to meet its responsibility to deliver religious ministry to our Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and family members in today's culture," said Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben, Navy chief of chaplains. "As we in our Religious Ministry Teams exercise our core capabilities of provide, facilitate, care and advise, we need to be aware that to do that effectively, we must access any number of avenues of communication to reach people where they find themselves."

Religious Program Specialist 1st Class David Okula thought that participating in the validation was an invigorating experience that allowed him to provide a different perspective on how to connect with incoming generations and understand shifting cultural dynamics.

"The process was equally intense, as many voices came together passionately, to either embrace or challenge concepts presented on how to engage millennials," said Okula.

Much of the focus for the upcoming course is on the demographics of millennials, many of whom are far less likely than older generations to identify with any religious group. There are people who fall under the labels of religious "nones" who may have once been religious or "dones" who have decided to stop attending religious services.

"The curriculum, and the subject matter experts responsible for its development and delivery, provided an invaluable perspective not only on how millennials view the world, institutions, and relationships, but also on how they utilize social media and technology to operate within them," said Lt. Keith J. Lightner, the chaplain assigned to Marine Barracks Washington, D.C.

The PDTC will be offered at 12 fleet concentration area and overseas locations starting in January 2018.