(RNS) — The Army has promoted an African American woman chaplain to the rank of colonel for the first time.

Chaplain (Col.) Monica R. Lawson was given the new status in a ceremony streamed live Wednesday (Sept. 2) on the Facebook page of the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School. The African Methodist Episcopal minister is the chief of recruiting and accessions for the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps.

“As an African American woman who has always been proud of the skin that I’m in, in this time this is a bright spot in a sea of what seems to be darkness never-ending,” Lawson said during the ceremony in the auditorium of the school at Fort Jackson in South Carolina.

“In a time when we are

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