Saturday, November 18, 2006

Show Them You Care!

You've hear it right? Maybe even said it "We support the troops, even if we disagree with the war."

Thanksgiving comes next week with Yule, Hanukkah, and Christmas right around the corner.

When I think about our Service Members so far away from home and family it makes me want to do something for them.

I have decided to adopt a service member from eCarePackage. If I can send one of them a CD or book, or something else to make their lives a little better, let them know there is someone back here that they do not know but who loves, prays, and cares for them all the same.

Really it is the least I can do. This is a brand new web site, and it looks like there is not a ton of people signed up yet... Hopefully that will change soon.

Here is some info from the eCarePackage website

eCarePackage was established as a program of the nonprofit organization, Operation Homefront, in response to requests from service members, military families, and our outstanding and loyal donors.

Due to heightened security, Operation Homefront staff came up with this program as a way to allow patriotic citizens to continue to support our service members and their families without violating their safety and security.

For security purposes, the contact information of service members and families who sign up are never released to anyone, including donors who wish to adopt them. Instead, Operation Homefront ships the packages directly and permits communication only by email. We trust our donors will understand.

All items available in the eCarePackage store are listed based on a minimum requested donation amount to cover administering the program and shipping of the package.

Because many of these items are donated, our staff may substitute like items of different brands and package sizes in some cases on your orders.

Any funds remaining after covering costs will be used by Operation Homefront to help military families in need.

We appreciate your generosity and thank you for your support!

You can also adopt a military family and choose between with or without children. I hope to choose some husband or wife without children, they deserve our support too.

Until Then, and Always
~ Jamie

If you are a same-sex partner of a deployed military member and need someone to speak to, or would just like something small but heartfelt for the holidays... and you are comfortable sharing your shipping address, please email me.

In case you missed it.. http://www.ecarepackage.org/

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Worshipfulness

Sunday 1136. I am listening to a broadcasted service from First Church UU in Boston. I was called into our work holiday meting and could not attend church. The service’s focus today was worship, and how appropriate. There I was seating in my pickup truck after being dismissed from (perched up doing lighting) listening, in my worship time. I did not want to get out of the truck as the sanctity of the moment would have been ruined. The silence, the solitude… I could have gone inside to listen to it in my stereo; but no, somehow the rain drizzling in my windshield, the noise of silence, my own warmth created a cocoon of worshipfulness. It was peaceful; I was whole in the driveway of my base housing’s home.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Honoring our UU Veterans


Honoring our Unitarian Universalist Veterans
By F. Vernon Chandler

Veterans Day, originally established as Armistice Day in 1926, is the official holiday when the United States honors our men and women who are veterans. The holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all US veterans.

Recognizing and honoring the military service of members in our Unitarian Universalist congregations are not high priorities for many of our churches and fellowships. But there are literally hundreds of Unitarian Universalists in our nation's armed forces today, and chances are that someone sitting near you on Sunday morning was once in uniform.

I suspect that many Unitarian Universalist veterans feel some awkwardness in sharing this distinction with other UUs on Veterans Day. Given the number of veterans who are members of our religious faith, I can't help wishing our Veterans Day observances were different.

Our veterans' military experiences are varied. Some enjoyed peacetime service. Others were touched by the horrors of combat. A few continue to carry physical and emotional scars from their wartime service. For some veterans, it was their military experience that initiated the religious search that eventually brought them to Unitarian Universalism. I know a few current and former military personnel who actually discovered Unitarian Universalism while in uniform. After all, we have UU chaplains in all branches of military service and a few of our larger military installations have UU congregations that meet in military chapels.

Political opinions vary among those in uniform as it does among civilians. One big difference for our men and women in uniform is that they do not have the same freedom to express their opinions publicly as do other citizens. The tempo of military deployments today places a great strain on our military personnel and their families. I have friends and colleagues who are on their second one year deployment in less than 4 years.

On this Veterans Day weekend, I encourage Unitarian Universalists to honor the veterans and military personnel in their congregations. Regardless of your political views regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our members of the armed forces do not start wars nor do they dictate foreign policy.

Our Unitarian Universalist military personnel need your support... and your love.

Expressing that support could be as simple as lighting a candle for your veterans on Sunday morning. Or you might consider offering time in your worship service for individual veterans to stand and share a special memory or lesson in life that was gained from military service. Hearing what our Unitarian Universalist veterans have to say and share just might be more powerful than any sermon preached from your congregation's pulpit!

This year, when you see Veterans Day flags flying in your towns, no matter what your feelings are about this or any war, my fondest hope is that you will remember our UU veterans and UU military personnel. Remember them and reach out to them in love, extending the olive branch of acceptance and respect that our UU faith calls us to embrace each day.

The Rev. Dr. F. Vernon Chandler is a Unitarian Universalist minister and has served for over 32 years as a UU military chaplain. His overseas active duty assignments include tours of duty in Bosnia, Germany, Hungary, Korea, and Kosovo. He holds the rank of Colonel in the US Army Reserve. Vernon and his wife Nataliya reside in Eberstadt, Germany.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Another new Blogger...

Wow, interest really seems to be picking up!

I would like to welcome our newest Blogger, Frank Coon...

Here is his information

I'm Frank Coon and I am a twenty-year Navy Lieutenant (LDO) stationed at the Naval Reactors Representative's Office in Bremerton, WA. My family and I are active members of Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church in Bainbridge Island, WA. I would love to join this blog.

Thanks,
Frank