I’m writing to you in my role as Endorser of Military and VA Chaplains, to encourage you to take the opportunity of Memorial Day this year to do more than light a candle or lay a wreath in memory of those who have died in service to our nation. I believe that we as Unitarian Universalists have left out our veterans, service members and their families largely through benign neglect. Yet our veteran population is hurting, and in need of the kind of transformational religious community we offer. Our soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines and “coasties” (and their families) are an amazing, diverse, largely young adult population who could benefit from our brand of faith – one that by and large isn’t available behind the barbed wire.
The UUA has created a free online curriculum called the Military MinistryToolkit to help create an open and welcoming space for this population. Welcoming military members and veterans is not in conflict with advocating for peace. In fact, deeply engaging with the moral and spiritual issues related to our collective war-making is arguably only done authentically in relationship with those who have born witness to war. Many of our veterans have deep religious and theological questions to work through, and our open approach to religion is a potentially life-saving, heart-healing opportunity – if only we would more fully explore the culture, issues, and realities of military experience and life, and be more intentionally welcoming.
I ask you to consider attending the workshop Military Ministry: Serving Wholeness in Congregations and Beyond, Thursday 6/25/2015, 1:15PM – 2:30 PM, if you are attending General Assembly, or simply jump in and use the Toolkit in your ministry setting where possible. If you need support, feel free to reach out directly. You can also view a recorded webinar on utilizing the Military Toolkit.