The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommendations mean over 31,000 jobs are migrating to and around the metro D.C. area. Congregations are reaching out to these new neighbors and benefiting from the gifts of military members, veterans and families among us.
LEADING US TO CONNECTIONS
(1) Concentrate outreach in cooperation with base chaplains;
(2) Help people in military or civilian service consider their vocation and service; and
(3) Support congregations in taking initiatives with military members, veterans and family members.
RESOURCING US TO REACH OUT
(1) Connect with your congregation’s Conference Dean for up-to-date information and contacts. If you do not know who your Conference Dean is, ask your pastor.
(2) Resources for military-related ministries can be found from the ELCA under Care for Returning Veterans. Scan to the bottom of the page to find titles including “Spouse Battlemind Training ” and “How Faith Communities Can Help Veterans and their Families Readjust, ” plus a bibliography.
(3) “For an educational focus within congregations, I recommend the material from The Lutheran magazine,” suggests the Rev. Eric Wester, former Army chaplain. A study guide for “Caring for the Military” by Cindy Novak (July 2010) can provide a basis for discussion.
(4) The ELCA Minneapolis Area Synod has organized a Veterans’ Ministry/Coming Home Collaboration that shares ideas for returning veterans, families in transition, rites and much more.
PHOTO ALBUM from “BRAC & Support to Military Members, Veterans and Families Workshop” held in October 2011