Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Religion • California Church Commissions National Race Car Chaplain

(Oakley, California)  A unique ceremony took place Sunday, September 12th at Mountain View Christian Center in Oakley, California. Five chaplains were installed and commissioned to serve East County in The Bay Area as “Community Chaplains” literally taking the church outside its walls. While concentrated in Contra Costa County, a couple of them will be serving nationally.

One of the five, Dennis Guinta, (second from right in photo below), who has been written up in the racing car magazines is an active drag racer, known particularly at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, California and the Sacramento Raceway.  In the formal ceremony Sunday, he was commissioned as National Chaplain of Race Car Drivers, to work with racers throughout America.  His race car will have the word, “Chaplain” on the side.

Sara Guinta, his wife, was installed as a care-giver-hospice chaplain as well as Assistant Racing Chaplain. Timothy Vaughn, was officially endorsed as a military chaplain. He had been spotted as a volunteer chaplain (along with the other candidates) at the recent Military StandDown in Pleasanton. General Dan Helix observed his work, took him aside, later swore Vaughn in as a military chaplain and given the rank of Major. The church certification ceremony conferred his ecclesiastical endorsement.

Dennis, Sara and Tim are in the process of working toward full ministry ordination. Pastor Joe Seeley and Pastor Carleton Booker are already ordained and went through additional training including working alongside the chaplain coordinator in the field. They were specifically endorsed as Community Chaplains with expertise in all areas of chaplaincy work.

The candiates go through rigorous training, attending Intern Class to study all facets of ministry plus the accredited School of Theology and then participate in additional training for the chaplaincy including emphais on counseling along with preparation to handle all types of crisis and emergency situations. The goal is to have 10 Community Chaplains (plus one) to be on call for anyone who needs their help, taking the church outside its walls “to serve others at their time and place of need.”  Churches are encouraged to adopt similar chaplaincy programs.


Chaplain’s Installation Ceremony. L to R. Sara Guinta, Dennis Guinta, Major Timothy Vaughn, Chaplain Coordinator Austin Miles, Pastor Joe Seeley, Pastor Carleton Booker.
Photo Credit: Shirley Ann Miles




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