Monday, January 29, 2007

The Marines on PBS

On Wednesday, February 21st, PBS will air a documentary titled The Marines. Regardless of the editorial tone of the program, this is a good teaching opportunity. Our station lists the showing as 8:00 PM CST.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Unitarian Universalist Military Ministries

Hello everyone,

I am happy to announce a sister-blog to this one, one that can hopefully become a public face for our efforts to conduct ministry both within the military, and to military affiliated members of our congregations.

The new website can be found at

Our goal with this site is to create a space where our UU Military Chaplains can have a place to make announcements, to share information, and to connect with the UUA at large on military issues. It also can serve as a space for information sharing for the nacent "UUA Committee on Military Ministry" that is being contemplated by an ongoing review of UU Military Chaplaincy endorsement and support. This site can also be a centralized webpresence for connection to UU Military Ministry projects such as the UUniforms project at the Unitarian Church of Norfolk, and the Great Lakes Ministry Project here in Chicago.

I have invited as contributors to the site all currrent and former serving UU Military Chaplains (that I know of), Chaplaincy Candidates (that's easy, its just me as far as I know right now) and representatives of all of the current UU projects of military outreach and ministry.

I decided to base this site in a blog so that multiple people could post articles and information to it without the need for an intermediary. This will help prevent the kind of problems that have occurred in the past with the last time a UU Military Ministry website was set up (Eric Johnson, if you read this, please contact me, I've been trying to reach you for about 18 months). This way there is no need to go through a difficult transfer of the site on a regular basis, and all any contributor needs to put information on the site is an internet connection.

So, if you are involved in a Military Ministry or outreach effort, and you have not received an invite from me, then please send an email to . I would love to hear about your efforts, and possibly get an article about them on the site. And if you are a UU Military Chaplain or Chaplaincy Candidate and have not recieved an invite, then by all means please contact us. We are still in the process of making those connections.

Yours in Faith,

David Pyle
2LT, USAR Chaplaincy Candidate
Student, Meadville Lombard Theological School

Monday, January 15, 2007

Welcome our Newest Blog members, and our technical problem has been fixed.

Greetings all!

Recently, Blogger moved all their membership accounts to Google, and that left us with a password problem that would not allow us to add any new members to the UU's in the Military Blog. We now have that fixed, and I would like to welcome the following new Bloggers. Here is their information...

Commander Randy Carol Balano, USNR
I started my military service in 1977, joining the Marine Corps Reserve right after high school. I transferred to the Navy Reserve in 1983, and earned a commission as an intelligence officer in 1987. I have served on active duty in Europe and did a two year tour as an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy. In addition to my reserve career, I am also a civilian employee of the Department of the Navy. My husband John is also a Navy veteran. We are both active members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, MD. Many members of our congregation have a connection with the military, either
having served themselves or having relatives who have served. I have had discussions with other members of our congregation about organizing some kind of a support program for military UUs and their
families, and perhaps extending it beyond the local congregation to the wider community. We started talking about this more than a year ago, but the timing was always problematic for one reason or another.
We hope to start planning and organizing in earnest after the holidays. I would welcome any ideas from other people who have or are trying to develop a program within their congregations.

Private Ethan Osborne, USMC
Hello my name is Ethan Osborne. I am a member of St. Johns Unitarian Universalist Church and consider myself a gnostic pantheist and am a member of CUUPs. I am leaving for Paris Island in feburary and wanted to be connected to unitarians in the Military.

And someone I know when he came to visit Meadville, Andrew Mertz

Andrew Mertz, Army National Guard vet, son of Vietnam vet, grandson of WWII vet, all UUs. I work for the UU Church of Arlington, Virginia. I am applying to Meadville-Lombard Theological School this winter.

My Question:
I met David Pyle at Meadville in October. He turned me onto this blog spot, and the "Founding the UU Military Fellowship" document. I have finally been able to sit down and read all of it. I was curious about where "we" are in the process it describes? I was not able to attend the 2005 GA discussion, but was wondering if the working group has taken any action beyond what I see on this blog and in the document?

Our Story:
I am keenly aware that our church has an undercurrent of "Defense" personnel. The National Guard Headquarters and Foreign Service Institute are literally across the street. Ft Myer 1.6 miles away, Pentagon 2.7 miles. Several of our members work for the DoD. I don't hesitate to say the majority of our congregation works for or is retired from the federal government or related contractors [DoD, State, EPA, CIA, Justice, Social Security Admin, Labor, Health and Human Services, etc]. The same is true for many of the congregations in the greater Washington area.
I often get the feeling that we just don't talk about that stuff. Obviously some of them can't like CIA and NSA employees, but that's not why. There is no out right contempt, but there is no support either.

My Story:
As I said the National Guard Headquarters is literally across the street and we have a sign posted "no national guard parking." I chuckled when I first visited the church 2.5 years ago for the job interview. See, being in the Virginia Army National Guard at the time my car had NG license plates, and still does. I knew it was only a matter of time before someone left a note under my wiper, or told the office there was "another Guardsman parking in our lot."
A few days ago it happened. A church member gave a note to the church office that the same car with guard plates has been parking in our lot for the entire week "in blatant disregard of our policy." Obviously this member thought I was working for the NG across the street and was parking here because of a lack of spaces, which is somewhat common. Apparently not noticing the fact that I have been parking in the church parking lot 6 days a week for the past 2 years. I even have our famous blue "Uncommon Denomination" bumper sticker, and UUSC decal. Anyway, I chuckled again when I heard the news. Our facility manager told the member it was an employee and was OK. But I just can't stop thinking about the motivations behind this member who was blind to the obvious.

USAF Civil Engineer

Member of Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists (although I will start a 10 month stint at Ft. Leavenworth KS (no, not like that) for Command and General Staff College, on 16 Jan 07)). Hoping to attend and volunteer with the All Souls Church in Kansas City, KS.

We welcome you all, finally, to the UU"s in the Military Blog!

David Pyle
2LT, USAR Chaplancy Candidate
Student, Meadville Lombard Theological School

Friday, January 05, 2007

America's Holy Warriors

From UU seminary grad, journalist, and author Chris Hedges:
The drive by the Christian right to take control of military chaplaincies, which now sees radical Christians holding roughly 50 percent of chaplaincy appointments in the armed services and service academies, is part of a much larger effort to politicize the military and law enforcement. This effort signals the final and perhaps most deadly stage in the long campaign by the radical Christian right to dismantle America’s open society and build a theocratic state. A successful politicization of the military would signal the end of our democracy.

Read the rest of the article here.