Ministry to Midshipmen: Baptizing in the Severn

By Chaplain Jon Uyboco, US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, Intro by Andy Meverden

Chaplains are generally a humble lot.  Occasionally I stumble onto hints of effective ministry and probe a bit deeper and find exciting results.  Completing his first-year ministry report as a battalion chaplain at the US Naval Academy, chaplain Jon Uyboco casually listed leading a contemporary Sunday night service and thirteen baptisms. I dug deeper and this is what I found:

“The Sunday night service is great, and I do bring my family to it. It is one of the few opportunities they have to be a part of what I am doing.  You are completely right about the impact that their presence has on the Mids.  So many of the Midshipmen love seeing and interacting with my four kids.

I’ve been able to participate in three baptisms this year – one was in May before graduation and commissioning, a second was during Plebe Summer Parent’s Weekend, and the third was in September after the start of the Academic Year.  In each situation it was great to be able to hear testimonies of God’s work in the lives of the Midshipmen.  It is an honor to be able to play a part in their spiritual journey at the Naval Academy.  I like to conduct my baptisms in the Severn River. Often, graduates refer to their time at the Naval Academy as “Four years by the Severn,” so it is a very meaningful location for them.  I know that they will always remember being baptized there, and I pray that it will anchor their faith and hope in Christ throughout the challenges they will face in life.

Here’s a bit of Naval Academy Tradition:

The Plebes* are required to memorize many different rates (the trivia/slogans that the plebes are required to memorize) during Plebe Summer.  One of them is a response to the question, “How long have you been in the Navy?” Their response begins with the words, “All me bloomin’ life, sir!  Me mother was a mermaid, me father was King Neptune.  I was born on the crest of a wave and rocked in the cradle of the deep…”

After the baptism, we were all walking back to Bancroft Hall together, and the plebes added another phrase to this answer, “… and baptized in the Severn!” It was a fun time for everyone, and I was happy that they were able to share that moment with their parents.  Of course, I was most excited about the baptism last May when I was also able to baptize my son, Kai. The pictures that I have included are from that baptism.”

Pray for Jonathan and Suzanna (and four children) as they minister to future leadership of the US Navy. Pray for continued impact of Bible Studies, discipleship, contemporary worship and chaplain duties with the Midshipmen football team.

For more stories about and by CBAmerica chaplains link to  For information on endorsement in a wide variety of chaplain specialties (military and civilian), email Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at

*Note: “Plebe: a newly entered cadet or freshman, especially at a military academy.”