Well, this is not really a checking in, although I have been a little absent as of late, due to serving as a student hospital Chaplain for the summer in Knoxville, TN.
I have introduced myself here before, as I have been a contributor for awhile now, but let me do so again. My name is David Pyle, and I am a UU Seminary Student at the Meadville Lombard Theological School. I am also a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served with the 7th Special Forces Group out of Ft. Bragg, and the U.S. National Intelligence Cell in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Plans and calls can change, but it is now my intention, upon completion of seminary and the UU fellowship process, to return to the U.S. Army as a Chaplain.
I believe there is a great need in our faith to move towards a more organized outreach and support system for those of us of liberal faith who are also connected with military organizations, be it as a service member, as a spouse or family member, as a veteran, or as a defense employee. But there is also a need, almost as great, to begin the process of educating our faith tradition about what it means to be a UU in the military. I love our liberal faith movement, and even the association of congregations that has grown to support it, but we have not always related well to the military. We are also in need of a liberal social activist organization that addresses problems within our military from the perspective of those who know it most intimately... servicemembers, spouses, and veterans.
How this can happen, I don't know. Perhaps it will be a UU Independent Affiliate Organization dedicated to these goals. Perhaps it will be an office of the UUA. Perhaps there is a church out there who would like to sponsor this kind of work, or an association of churches who are located near military bases. There are many different options and probably more ideas out there.
But we are losing UU's of faith because we do not know how to accept and support them in their positions in the military. And how can we expect the military to come any closer to our UU principles and ideals if we are not there?
Greg, thank you for your service, both as a UU and as a Marine. You have been an inspiration and I hope you will always consider me a friend.
Yours in Faith,