Distinguished Alumni Award

2018 Distinguished Alumni: Robert Blessing

Biography for Chaplain (Colonel) Robert Blessing

Robert (Bob) Blessing graduated from King’s in 1976. He spent his senior year in France with Operation Mobilization, a missionary group that does church planting and evangelism. When he returned, he spent a year at Oral Roberts University and then transferred to the University of Washington, where he graduated with a degree in Business.

After a few years working in his family’s saw-milling business, he felt God calling him to full-time ministry. He attended Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena for two years and then transferred to the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California, Berkeley finishing his Master of Divinity. He then moved to Seattle and began working as an assistant priest at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church where he had spent his teenage years. During this time, he met his wife, Anne, to whom he has now been married for 30 years.

The appeal to overseas missions again called him and, after three years, they left for Korea to join up with the Jesus Abbey community, where he helped train Koreans to go into missionary work. He also helped with the American military. It was from this outreach that he began to consider serving as a military chaplain.

In the spring of 1995 after serving two years in the Army Reserve, Bob went into active military duty serving at several army posts around the world. After 6 years, he returned to the states to serve as a rector of a church in Texas and an Army National Guard chaplain. After 9/11, he was called to serve three year-long deployments. The violence and physical and emotional losses took their toll upon him with eye damage and struggles with PTSD. This also equipped him, however, to help train and prepare other military chaplains for service in combat zones.

He expresses great joy now in being a volunteer church pastor and working with veterans struggling with PTSD. He is presently in ministry to veterans struggling with spiritual and moral injury. As part of this ministry, he takes veterans on spiritual pilgrimages, hiking parts of the Pacific Crest Trail in Southern California.

Bob will retire at the end of June, completing 25 ½ years as an Army chaplain with two bronze stars he earned while serving in combat. Bob and his wife Anne live in San Diego. They have a married son, who is a Family Practice Resident in Tucson and a daughter who recently completed her Master in Paleopathology.

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