Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Unitarian Universalist Military Ministry News!



Spring 2008

In this Spring issue:

1) General Assembly Workshop
2) Presence at the Ministry and Professional Leadership Booth at GA
3) Salute to Maj. Greg Rouillard
4) Update on the Great Lakes Project
5) Request for UU’s in the Military participation in the Peacemaking Congregational Study / Action Issue discussion

1) General Assembly Workshop

The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations General Assembly is coming up, from June 25th to 29th, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. UUniforms, a program at the UU Church in Norfolk, VA, will be presenting a workshop entitled “Founding and Sustaining a UU Military Support Group. Here is their blurb:

"FOUNDING AND SUSTAINING A UU MILITARY SUPPORT GROUP" --- Unitarian Universalists always have been integral to our nation's military and Department of Defense. Many congregations want to be more welcoming to its military/DoD members and their families but don't know how. This presentation offers practical advice about successfully founding and sustaining a group for fellowship and support. The program is scheduled for Thu 26 June, 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM, Convention Center, Grand Floridian G. The program will be presented by Lou Portella and CH Cynthia Kane… though other UU Military Ministry members will be in attendance.

Click here to see a flyer on the workshop. Join us!

Click here to learn more about General Assembly.


2) Presence at the Ministry and Professional Leadership Booth at GA

At the invitation of Rev. Beth Miller, UU Military Ministries will be maintaining a “Uniformed Ministry of Presence” at the Ministry and Professional Leadership Booth at General Assembly in Ft. Lauderdale. Our goal is to have a Chaplain, Chaplain Candidate, or UUMM Project Associate at the booth to answer questions about the military, military chaplaincy, and UU’s who serve in the military, as well as to provide a contact point. Literature will be available for clergy, as well as for families and spouses of servicemembers. There will also be literature available on the UUA’s Committee on Military Ministry. Please come by and say hello!

There is also a planned meeting of the Committee on Military Ministry at General Assembly, as well as an opportunity for those who are interested in Military Chaplaincy and Military Ministry to ask questions of the Committee, serving Chaplains, and Rev. Beth Miller, the UUA’s official Military Chaplain Endorser. When those plans are finalized, the dates and times will be announced through the UUMM website.


3) Salute to Maj. Greg Rouillard

UU Military Ministries wants to salute and congratulate Maj. Greg Rouillard on his upcoming retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps. Many of you may know Maj. Rouillard from his online name of “Slidestorm” and also from his blogs “(r)evolutions” and “A Virginia UU in King George’s War”, as well as being one of the panelists at the UU Military workshop at General Assembly in 2005.

Maj. Rouillard also began the “UU’s in the Military” Blog, when he sensed there was a need for UU’s to build greater community. His faithful service to our nation, as well as to our liberal religious tradition, reflect great credit upon himself, his family, his friends, and his congregation. Greg has been instrumental in being one of the first voices calling for UU’s in or affiliated with the military to build community. Here is the email he sent out…

Friends,

This e-mail is to announce my upcoming retirement from the Marine Corps.
I wish that all of you could join me for my ceremony on May 9 in Virginia, and I realize that it's pretty unlikely given where you live.

If for some reason you think you might be able to come, please let me know and I'll send you more details.

At any rate, my retirement is official on June 1, and on June 2 I begin a new job with Organizational Strategies, Inc. (OSI), doing much the same work I've been doing the past two years, in the same office, with the same people. We have decided to stay in Virginia for the time being to see what happens with the housing market and some other things. Our eventual goal is to live in an intentional community in Boulder, CO.

I hope to hear from you - with some it's been years since we've been in touch.
If you know of anyone else who might be interested in knowing about my retirement, please forward this message.

Best Regards,
Greg Rouillard

We salute you sir! Thank you for your service. And on a personal note, I (David Pyle) would like to thank you for the trust and confidence you have shown in trusting me to steward the UU’s in the military group. Semper Fi! (or, in my language, AIRBORNE!)


4) Update on the Great Lakes Project

The UU Military Ministries sponsored project that provides Sunday Morning UU worship services for the basic training recruits at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center is growing, and seeking to find ways to build deeper connections with local UU organizations. The program, which has been a partnership of UUMM with the Meadville Lombard Theological School and the Unitarian Church of Evanston, is seeking to broaden its base of support.

Currently, the program is averaging between 25 and 40 recruits for worship each Sunday morning, and has involved over 12 worship associates from Meadville and UCE. This years project director is LTC Seanan Holland, a Marine Corps Reserve officer and a 3rd year Meadville student working towards Naval Chaplaincy. The program has been reaching a broad range of recruits, many of whom have never encountered Unitarian Universalism before.

Next month, the Great Lakes Project will be meeting with representatives of the Central Midwest District of the UUA, the Meadville Lombard Theological School, the Chicago Area UU Council, the Unitarian Church of Evanston, and the Chicago Liberal Association of Ministers to discuss ways to deepen the connection of the Chicago area to the Great Lakes Project. Our goal of that meeting is to develop ways to insure that the UU worship services for Naval recruits continues for years to come.

If you would like to support the project, please contact David Pyle at david@celestiallands.com.


5) Request for UU’s in the Military participation in the Peacemaking Congregational Study / Action Issue discussion

Glenn E. King, a member of the Peacemaking Resources Working Group, and the Ministerial Intern at the First Church UU, in Leominster MA, has requested that those military and military affiliated Unitarian Universalists who wish to have their voices heard in the continuing discussion around the current Congregational Study / Action Issue contact him. Here is the email he sent to UUMM.

Greetings, I have a request which I hope you can help with. I am not in the military, however I am hoping your blog members can help out. I am currently working with a core team on the Peacemaking Congregational Study Action Issue and one thing we have determined is that voices from the military are not being heard on this issue. If any members would like to be involved in a "Military Voices" working group, that would examine this issue, please have them get in touch with me.

More information on the CSAI can be found at
http://www.uua.org/peacemaking

Thanks much,
Glenn E. King
Peacemaking Resources Working Group
Ministerial Intern, First Church UU, Leominster, MA

Our voices are important in this discussion, so lets be heard! Anyone who is interested can contact Glenn directly.

6) “Deployment Resources for America’s Clergy” is now online!

Over the years, UUMM has regularly received requests from Unitarian Universalists Ministers for resources on how to better minister with servicemembers and their families. The U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Chaplains has produced a resource document for civilian clergy on this issue. Here is a link.
http://www.ncmaf.org/resources/Civilian_Clergy_Info.pdf

We are currently using this document as the basis for a workshop for civilian clergy being presented by UUMM in the Evanston, Illinois area, and hope to expand that work. It contains information on the role of civilian clergy in providing information and support to military families, and also provides some basic pamphlets that can be handed out. It also contains an excellent article written by military psychologists on the emotional cycle a military family goes through during a deployment. It is a great resource for ministers to have on their shelf.
If the brochures in this version do not print well for you, let UUMM know and we will send you a version in Microsoft Word.

Thank you all for your service, as servicemembers, as military family members, as veterans, and as allies. If UUMM can be of service to you, just contact us at uumil@uublog.org .

Yours in Faith,
David Pyle
2LT, USAR Chaplain Candidate
Student, Meadville Lombard Theological School
Ministerial Intern, Unitarian Church of Evanston
Coordinator, UU Military Ministries

2 comments:

Joseph Santos-Lyons said...

Dear All

Thanks for maintaining this point of contact for UU's and friends.

I'm a new UU Minister, just out of seminary. I'm not planning to enter the service, however I've had a long history of peace activism from a lifelong membership in our UU congregations.

I'm also active with young adult ministry, and have paid close attention the last 5 years with the age dynamics of those in the military.

I'm not sure of the overall numbers, but I notice that in my daily read of those who have died, most are under age 35.

I've spent the last few months planning for my future, and I'm seriously considering a chaplaincy position at the local VA.

Have you had any experience with UU chaplains in this context?

2LT David Pyle, CC, USAR said...

Joseph,

I do believe that there are a few UU Ministers serving as VA chaplains. In order to do so, I believe you need to be endorsed by the Committee on Military Ministry, in the same way that a Military Chaplain is. Even if not, the Committee on Military Ministry would be an excellent resource for you to begin your discernment around this issue.

Here is a link to their page on the UUA website...

http://www.uua.org/aboutus/professionalstaff/staff-appointedcommittees/militaryministry/index.shtml

If I can be of any service in your discernment, please contact me through www.celestiallands.org...

Yours in Faith,

David Pyle