February 2021 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced in late December that Margaret Grun Kibben, a retired Navy rear admiral who formerly served as the U.S. Navy’s chief chaplain and the chaplain of the Marine Corps, will be the new chaplain of the House of Representatives.

Kibben, a Presbyterian minister, replaces the retiring Rev. Pat Conroy, a Roman Catholic priest. Conroy served as the House’s chaplain since 2011. In 2018, he survived an attempt by House Republicans to fire him after he delivered a prayer that some officials considered critical of a GOP tax bill.

Kibben’s military career spanned 30 years. She holds a doctorate in ministry and a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.

The House chaplain’s job consists mainly of opening daily sessions with a prayer and some other ceremonial functions. Chaplains also offer spiritual counseling to members of Congress.

While the House and Senate have had chaplains since the founding period, Americans United has asserted that the position is an anachronism that should be discontinued.