PAMELAJUNE B. BANKS-ANDERSON
Lieutenant Commander (Retired), US Navy Chaplain Corps
Chaplain Pamelajune (Pj) Banks-Anderson, hails from Columbus, OH. She earned an Associate in Arts Degree from Catonsville Community College in Catonsville, MD, a Bachelor of Science Degree from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD., a Masters of Divinity Degree from Howard University Divinity School (Cum Laude), Washington, D. C. and a Doctorate in Ministry from the United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH. After graduating from Chaplain School, Newport RI in August, 1985, she was commissioned and, in 1987, began her military career at Portsmouth Naval Hospital.
During Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM and the Gulf War she served as the only first African American female staff member in the Chaplain’s Department at NAS Sigonella, Italy and the European Southern Theatre during the Gulf War. By invitation she served at NS Rota, Spain; NS Souda Bay, Crete, Greece; the Activity Support Unit, Rhine Mein, Germany. Throughout her career, she has served in the following commands: Air Naval Station (ANS), Sigonella, Italy; Fleet Hospital, San Diego; the USS Denver; Marine Corps Air Base, Marine Air Group (MAG), Camp LeJeune, NC; III Marine Division, Command Chaplain’s Office, Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan; NR NSA Naples, Forest Park, IL; NSA Naples, Naval Operations Support Center (NOSC), Chicago; and NR CNR Europe ROC, and NOSC Cincinnati.
Her military awards include; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Navy Rifle Sharp Shooter, SW Asia Support Medal, Navy Marine Corps Overseas Service, Kuwait (Saudi Arabia) Ribbon, Kuwait Liberation Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Ribbon, Navy Reserve Ribbon, and the US Navy/US Marine Corps Meritorious Unit Commendation. In May 2005, she received a Certificate of Commendation from Lieutenant General J. E. Burkett, U.S. Marine Corps Commander, Marine Forces Reserve for exceptional performance of duties, serving as a member of the Marine Forces Reserve Critical Incident Stress Management Team, and conducting crisis management briefing for LIMA Company, 3rd Battalion, 25tth Marines. She also received a Letter of Commendation from A. O. Lotring, Rear Admiral, Commander, Naval Service Training Command, Great Lakes, IL. The Citation recognized Chaplain Anderson for her professional development, unparalleled initiative, and resourcefulness. She mentored four Chaplains and one Religious Program Specialist during a two-day Human Assistance Rapid Response Team training, assisted caregivers in preparing service members and families for deployment separation, contributed to the development of the Commanding Officer’s domestic violence training brief, and conducted “Living Life On Purpose” classes for 200 separating recruits and 100 new Sailors, resulting in their increased morale and improved decision making skills. She also served as Ships (barracks) Chaplain, supported recruit religious needs by leading 24 worship services and baptizing 21 recruits. “Lieutenant Commander Anderson’s exceptional professionalism, personal initiative, and unswerving devotion to duty reflected credit upon her and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
Chaplain is a woman of many firsts: Ordained at the historical Lincoln Temple Congregational Church, UCC, Washington, DC; Associate Pastor at Plymouth United Church of Christ (UCC), Detroit, MI; Associate Association Pastor of the Western Reserve Association of the Ohio Conference, UCC, Cleveland; Pastor, Mayflower United Church of Christ, Detroit; Chaplain recalled to Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Southern Europe; Installed Pastor in the Michigan Conference, UCC; Civil Air Patrol Chaplain, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton; to make history at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, Wilberforce, OH by donating her Dress White Navy Uniform and other Navy memorabilia.
Chaplain Banks-Anderson is also an author and columnist: Heavenly Hints/Earthly Events: A Chat with Churchfolk (1998); Can the LORD BE MY SHEPHERD If I am Gay? (2000); LADY LEWIS: Her Gloves and Hat – A Memoir of Ohio’s First Patron of the Arts (2006); THROUGH IT ALL: A Pictorial and Conversational Memoir of Amos H. Lynch – Ohio’s Oldest, Active Newspaper Guru (2007); BETWEEN THE ROCK AND HARD PLACES – Our Journey Before and Beyond the 1957 Merger of the United Church of Christ (2015); TO HEAL THE WOUNDED SOUL: From Within the Family (In Memory of Oliver W. Martin, III (2014)); NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP:
On Death and Dying, Loss and Gain from the Clinical Pastoral Education
Perspective, Co-author Father Sebastian Mpango Nzabhayanga (2014); BETWEEN A ROCK AND HARD PLACES – Our Journey Before and Beyond the 1957 Merger of the United Church of Christ (2015). She is weekly presented in the Dayton Weekly and Cleveland Call Post and regularly in the Michigan Chronicle/FrontPage, North Chicago People’s Voice, and Michigan Bulletin. Publications in the making: THE REAL DEAL IN SODOM AND GOMORRAH: Lack of Hospitality (The Sequel to Can the LORD BE MY SHEPHERD If I am Gay? (2015)) and UNFAIR WINDS AND BELLOWING SEAS: Memoirs of Pamelajune (Pj) Banks-Anderson, Lieutenant Commander (RET), US Navy Chaplain Corps (2016).
In 2005, Chaplain founded the National Restoration to Military Families Team, doing business as the National Restoration Team (NRT). NRT is a 501C3, community-based organization with the following mission: to empower communities to support military members, their families, and affected civilians through deployment cycles, including re-entry and re-union challenges; and fallen service members’ families and affected civilians through the grief cycle. Please visit http://www.nrt-caring.org for additional information.
Chaplain Banks-Anderson is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ holding partnership standing with the Christian Church. She has numerous civilian awards and acknowledgements. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., a lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a volunteer Chaplain in the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the US Air Force, and, from the 2009-2010 class, a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Resident Graduate at East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie, LA. She succeeded the late Reverend Dr. Michael C. Murphy, Founding Pastor of St. Stephen’s Community Church as the Pastor and Senior Minister from 11/25/2012 – 01/18/2014. Currently, Doctor Pj is the Senior Organizer of Space for Grace Fellowship (UCC), Lansing, MI. We affirm and en-joy (perpetual happiness) Life.