Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We write you as fellow members of the Body of Christ.
At the 2008 Virginia Annual Conference, those in attendance unanimously passed a “Caring and `Sorrow-Bearing’ Resolution,” which you can read by clicking here (pdf). While the responsibility for implementing the resolution was given to various conference boards, committees, and teams, in truth the responsibility is that of each congregation.
There is a fascinating and effective community of faith in Portland, Oregon, who call themselves “The Bridge,” a wonderful name for the church. With God as bridge-builder, Who has extended grace to us and all persons, we are privileged to participate in bridge building by sharing the grace we have received. To be “grace-full” persons means to live with the compassion expressed by Walt Whitman:
I do not ask the wounded person how he feels,
I myself become the wounded person
- Walt Whitman, 1881, “Song of Myself,” Section 33, l. 845
On this site, as announced on ClergyNet and LaityNet, are posted files which can be downloaded and shared with your congregation. One file, a pdf version of the Church Guide for Ministering to the Military, is made available to us by volunteers of Military Ministry, Inc. Print copies can be obtained by contacting Military Ministries directly. The second file offers suggestions for how churches of the Virginia Conference can be involved in caring and sorrow-bearing ministries (pdf). Resources which you may want to access are listed below.
We ask you to share this information with your Church/Administrative Council, as you pray for guidance for the ministry to which God is calling you to minister to members of the military and their families during these difficult times.
Love and Peace in Christ,
Health and Relief Team
Virginia Conference Board of Global Ministries
"Beyond the Yellow Ribbon: How Churches Can Help Soldiers and Their Families Readjust after Combat"
Christianity Today: Veteran Ministry – How churches can help soldiers and their families readjust after combat
Deployment Health Support
Iraq War Veterans Organization
Military Family Research Institute
Military Home Front, Department of Defense website for official Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) program information
Military Ministries, a division of Campus Crusade for Christ International
Ministering to the Military in Our Midst (Southern Baptist)
National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Rebuilding Together, Veterans Housing Initiative
“Returning from the War Zone: A Guide for Families of Military Members”
Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs), directory of service organizations
Virginia is for Heroes, serving those who served: veterans and their families
War Veteran Ministers