Remembering Pascal Buma

Remembering Pascal Buma A Letter from Our Spiritual Director, Dr. Rick Capezza

Pascal Buma

February 19, 1986-February 26, 2024

Around 6pm on Monday evening, February 26th, I received a phone call that one of our students at The School of Military Spiritual Formation, 2LT Pascal Buma, had collapsed and died while attending the Chaplain Basic Officer Leader Course (CHBOLC) in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.  


Pascal was a chaplain candidate with the Oklahoma Army National Guard, a Master of Divinity student at Oral Roberts University, and had just completed his second of four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at The School of Military Spiritual Formation (SMSF), an affiliate center of CPE International 


As Pascal served the state of Oklahoma, my home state, he held a special place in my heart. I didn’t know him as well as his supervisors, but I did interview him when he came into our program. We occasionally texted and emailed a bit, and his supervisors would give me updates on his growth over the course of his six months with us  – growth which they described as “tremendous.” The thing that sticks out to me about Pascal was his general enthusiasm for life and his love for God. As I scrolled through our texts, I was unsurprised that his last text to me said, “I am grateful.” 


Pascal was born in Cameroon, and after coming to the US, he hosted refugees for the three-month transitional period while they waited to get jobs, helped transport people to and from church for services, and served as a worship leader. He recently started a YouTube channel sharing his worship music 


When Pascal entered our program, he told me that he had been waiting for years for his wife, Carine, to be able to immigrate to the US. She only recently arrived in the US around Thanksgiving. I found out last week that Carine is two months pregnant, and after learning of Pascal’s passing, Carine had to be transported to the hospital for care. I have been in touch with their pastor, Pastor John Ayamba of Gospel Open Door Church of All Nations in Oklahoma City, throughout the week and had the opportunity to talk to Carine on Sunday, March 3rd.  


Because of Carine’s recent transition to the US, her name was not on various financial accounts and military documents. Carine is unsure when she will be able to get access to accounts and military services that can provide financial assistance. While these details are being sorted out. Pastor Ayamba and members of the church have been assisting as they can, but they are of limited means and have had to go into some debt to support her.  


As a chaplain who has personally experienced the toll such grueling schedules can take on one’s family and physical health, I recently initiated The Spiritual Care Fund, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to funding respite opportunities for chaplains and other non-sectarian spiritual care providers. On February 23rd, I received notification that our 501c3 status had been approved by the IRS, and I was excited to announce the launch of The Spiritual Care Fund on my birthday, Tuesday, February 27.  


It was in the final hours of our non-profit’s launch preparation that I learned of Pascal’s death. Pascal’s wife Carine has granted The Spiritual Care Fund permission to raise funds for both Carine’s support and Pascal’s memory. As The Spiritual Care Fund is a 501c3, all donations are tax-deductible, and as we partner with Zeffy, we pay no fees to a third party.  


Please note that our fundraiser is currently the only fundraiser sanctioned by his wife. We wish to ensure that distant family members do not use Pascal’s passing as an opportunity for self-gain. If Carine authorizes other fundraisers for her support, we will update the information here. 


You may contact Rick Capezza of the Spiritual Care Fund/The School of Military Spiritual Formation through the contact form on this site or Pascal’s pastor, Pastor John Ayamba of Gospel Open Door Church of All Nations in Oklahoma City if you have any questions.  


To help support Carine, you can donate here: Support Carine Claire Ebondo.  

In addition, The School of Military Spiritual Formation has decided to create a scholarship fund for military chaplains who are in need of financial assistance to continue chaplain training at The School of Military Spiritual Formation.  During the month of March, all donations given to The Spiritual Care Fund’s general fund to support respite and retreat opportunities for spiritual care providers, up to $5,000, will be matched with a donation to The School of Military Spiritual Formation’s scholarship fund, The Pascal Buma Memorial Scholarship Fund and distributed to future students as “Buma Scholarships.” To donate to SCF’s fund for respite opportunities for spiritual care givers and ensure a donation match, you may donate here: The Spiritual Care Fund.  

Let’s keep Pascal’s spirit alive and make a real difference for Carine, for military chaplains, and for all spiritual care providers who provide support to those in existential and spiritual crisis.