The Ventura County Fire Department Chaplain program consists of people who volunteer their time to assist residents of our community who have experienced the death or serious injury of a loved one. They are available to respond 24 hours a day, every day. Chaplains who answer that call are available to talk with, pray for, and minister to those in need.
Two new chaplains, Sam Chang and Matt Elam, recently joined the program.
Chang has a master of divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and served as a pastor at a Korean Community Church in Los Angeles. He currently attends Westminster Presbyterian Church in Westlake Village.
Compassion for people in need is at the center of Sam’s volunteer work.
“My calling from God led me to the compassion ministry,” he said. “Be present in the name of compassion for their immediate need.”
Elam has served as a pastor for 14 years at Monte Vista Church in Newbury Park, where he has worked with youth and missions programs. He grew up in Thousand Oaks, graduating from Thousand Oaks High School before going to college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he played baseball.
“My interest in the chaplains program came in gratitude from seeing first responders in those moments of grief and loss, understanding the need for that support, especially for people who may not have a church community of their own.”
Program supervisor Bob Ameche said that call to service is strong among all the department’s chaplains.
“Our chaplains come from different backgrounds and faiths, but they come together to provide support to the people of our county,” he said.