San Diego Regional Interfaith Collaborativesupporting the multi-religious network for communication, compassion and service
Veterans and the Military
Resources for Military Ministries
Military Chaplains Association (MCA) sends out a Newsgram (email) every Wednesday with updates about various topics relevant to military/VA chaplaincy, including free webinars, job openings, and other interesting info.
This version has info about the 2014 National Institute to be held in San Diego in May, including registration info. Visit the link: Link
Click on the following link to subscribe and receive the email each Wed morn. Click here
Welcome Johnny and Jane Home Project
The Welcome Johnny and Jane Home Project helps veterans heal – and reduces the too-common chasms between veterans and nonveterans – by having one nonveteran at a time simply listen to a veteran from any war. Listening is “the art and practice of putting someone else’s speaking, thinking, feeling needs ahead of our own,” wrote Marc Wong in Thank You For Listening.
This is about human connection through the often overlooked but astonishing power of listening. Regardless of the veteran’s politics and the listener’s politics, the sessions are healing.
Listeners are not therapists, and – except for speaking two sentences – they truly do nothing but listen. However, they do so with 100% of their attention and their whole hearts. Harvard University research has shown that veterans describe this as helpful, and the listeners say it is wonderfully transformative for them.
You can become involved by doing one or more sessions, by helping organize others to get involved, or both. The three main steps you need to take are becoming familiar with the purpose and guidelines, finding a place to do the session, and finding a veteran who wants to do a session. For more information about how to get involved with the project, click
Mindful Veterans Tucson
The Mindful Veterans Project was founded in 2008 by Richard Vandemark and Dr. Teri Davis to teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction classes to veterans, active duty, reserves, national guard, and their immediate families. We began with half a dozen veterans per class, with classes offered four times a year. We now teach fifteen classes a year with up to 30 veterans in a class and are getting referrals from the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Healthcare System, the local Vet Center, Davis Monthan Air Force Base, private providers, our own direct outreach, and word-of-mouth.
The program uses the same format and curriculum as taught by the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, which is now part of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. While other mindfulness and mind/body programs have recently become available, the bulk of the research on mindfulness uses the MBSR protocol. By staying with the established model, we endeavor to deliver the same results that have given the program its excellent clinical credibility. Our instructors have completed professional training at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society and are dedicated educators. Mindfulness development is a simple, profound, and potentially life changing adventure; we look forward to being your guides.
10 Things You Should Know about Healthy Family Functioning
One of a series of pdf’s produced by the VA San Diego Healthcare System. For more information, contact the Chaplain Service at 858-642-3496.
The Vital Role That Family Plays In The Healing Process
One area where we can help faith communities (as well as the VA and the Military culture) to more effectively deal with Active Duty service members and Veterans is realizing that what hurts the Veteran hurts his family as well. The From Warrior to Soul Mate program clearly demonstrates that if you help the spouse and the couple, you also help the Veteran. It would be beneficial for communities of faith as well as the VA develop more outreach to spouses of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.
Two resources to assist in this process:
Recovering from the War: A Guide for All Veterans, Family Members, Friends and Therapists by Patience H. C. Mason, available from Amazon.
“A Stranger in My Bed”. See www.astrangerinmybed.com for free preview of the book.
The following is a list of books to help provide insight into the various cultures of the Armed Forces. Each Service has a Professional Reading Program. Those various programs can be accessed through the following links below.
Marine Corps: http://www.recruitparents.com/bootcamp/
Coast Guard: http://www.uscg.mil/
You can always search each individual service and look at their web pages. Each web page will provide you a window into how each service perceives itself and its mission.
National Defense University Professional Reading Lists:
Marine Corps: http://guides.grc.usmcu.edu/usmcreadinglist
Free Weekly Email – Military Chaplains Association
The free weekly email that is put out by Military Chaplains Association has lots of interesting training info, job announcements and other links.
See the latest version of the email at:
You can also learn more about MCA by visiting http://www.mca-usa.org.
About Army OneSource: Army OneSource (AOS) is a Secretary of the Army Initiative to provide comprehensive community support and service delivery for Soldiers and their Families regardless of component or geographic location. Through Community Support Coordinators located throughout the US and Pacific, AOS is raising awareness and generating support among the private sector to effectively serve the unique challenges of Military life, including the growing demand for behavioral health, financial, legal and faith-based services. Utilizing traditional establishments on Military Installations, a Web-based portal, and local community partners, AOS is helping empower Soldiers and their Family Members to be strong, healthy and connected to the best resources wherever they may be. http://www.myarmyonesource.com
Webinar On Moral Injury
In February, Rita Brock and Herm Keizer, Soul Repair Center Co-Directors, conducted a webinar for the network of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, in which they discussed the definition and causes of moral injury, how it differs from post-traumatic stress disorder and what is involved in the recovery process. They also shared about the importance of congregations and communities in the process of soul repair. This free webinar can still be accessed at http://network.crcna.org/forums/elders/moral-injury-and-soul-repair-webinar.
Care for Returning Veterans
“Care for Returning Veterans” was developed initially as a daylong workshop by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for use in congregations, synods and other ministry sites. The workshops, led by Chaplain Hatcher and funded by grants from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, were held in 15 locations across the country from September 2008 through January 2009.
“Care for Returning Veterans” is a first step to assist pastors, caregivers, and any who want to put out the welcome mat for our returning veterans and their families. The workshop includes a multimedia presentation that deals with “the veteran’s experience”: psychological impacts, moral impacts, spiritual impacts, family impacts, and referrals and resources.
The “Care for Returning Veterans” DVD is available for no charge. Call toll-free at 800-638-3522 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy.
For more information about “Care for Returning Veterans,” contact: Chaplain Ed Hatcher, e-mail: email@example.com
California Statewide Collaborative for our Military and Families
Our Collaborative is a strong voice advocating for a wholistic, compassionate continuum of services, treatment and care for our service members, veterans, families, care givers and care providers.
We provide a forum to share information and education, raise awareness, focus outreach and promote strategic partnerships that will streamline and improve access to health and human services.
We build fully integrated partnerships of Federal, State, Local and Community in support of our Military and Families.
Mary Ellen Salzano, Founder and Facilitator
408 779 6916 or 408 489 0911 firstname.lastname@example.org
PowerPoint Available to Assist Spouses of Returning Marines
The powerpoint addresses some of the dynamics of service members reintegrating into the home/family/stateside environment. It was created by Commander Jeff Saville, Chaplain Corps, U.S. Navy.
“I wish you could have been present to see the…the tears, bonding and joy, the healing for so many.”
VA Chaplain Dick Millspaugh is talking about the Veterans and loved ones who attend relationship-bonding retreats.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is trying a new path to caring for and healing the nation’s wounded Veterans. Now, in addition to repairing their damaged bodies and minds, VA is going one step further and helping to repair their crumbling intimate relationships.
The retreats are conducted by VA chaplains, social workers, psychologists, and nurses. They are PAIRS-certified instructors, teaching better communication skills, relationship skills, and emotional literacy skills to couples. PAIRS stands for: Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills.
“Research shows that 70 percent of our combat Veterans are experiencing marital problems,” said VA Chaplain Ron Craddock. “Twenty percent of them decide to divorce before they even return from theatre. This is staggering. The toll on the individual Veteran is staggering. The toll on his family is staggering.”
“They taught us how to listen to each other,” say Michelle, wife of an Army Veteran. “When that happens, it brings you closer together. It feels really, really good.”
Chaplain Millspaugh has dozens of quotes like that.
The VA retreats, called “From Warrior to Soul Mate,” are based on a program created by the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation which, for over a quarter century, has provided educational programs that deliver practical skills to strengthen marriages and families.
The retreats take place in a group setting, with instructors, often over a Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday, or in several class sessions. Instructors are skilled, perceptive, effective facilitators from various disciplines. They have been trained and certified.
The retreats of 30-60 people are conducted with an open invitation for participants to ask questions and offer contributions from their unique life experiences. After introductions, instructors outline ground rules for discussion, and then explore an understanding of how learning and relationships evolve. Soon participants are introduced to practical communication tools and invited to practice those skills with their partners.
An example of one of the sessions at a weekend retreat:
PAIRS Relationship Roadmap— The conversation begins with an exploration of the root causes of pain and pleasure, considering symptoms and signs of happiness and unhappiness and their connection to the deprivation or fulfillment of biologically-based needs, including the human need for bonding.
Here’s a complete overview of what happens at the retreats and a look at the syllabus.
The vision to move the “From Warrior to Soul Mate” initiative from a local effort to a VA nationwide program has been an outstanding success. Since 2011:
Nine “Train the Trainer” workshops have certified over 400 PAIRS facilitators at VA locations around the country.
Multiple enrichment retreats have been held at 26 different sites to the benefit of hundreds of couples.
Partnerships have been set up with the faith community, the American Red Cross, the Border Patrol and organizations serving Active Duty personnel.
Participants’ evaluations revealed that many Vets and their partners felt that “everyone in the military should be required to attend” such retreats, that the retreats helped with the problems of multiple deployments, PTSD, and other challenges of military service and transition.
“I would like to say thank you for PAIRS couples retreat. It helped my husband and I see that our relationship is still worth fighting for.”
In a lengthy report filled with important statistics, Chaplain Millspaugh reflected, “How can one measure the lives literally saved from suicide, the children not touched by divorce, the costs not incurred by stress borne illnesses or homelessness?”
From Warrior to Soul Mate has been a unique and important program to help so many of America’s Veterans strengthen the health of their families.
Resources from the VA
- A PDF called Spiritual Care Handbook on PTSD/TBI is available online. Anyone is encouraged to print and distribute copies as it is a government document and has no copyright.
Here is a link to view and print the handbook: http://www.healthcarechaplaincy.org/userimages/Spiritual%20Care%20PTSD%20Handbook1.pdf
- The second resource is the God Understands series of booklets. This boxed set contains eight biblically based portions that address PTSD and the spiritual injuries that many Veterans face upon return from duty.
The God Understands series, along with all additional scripture resources listed in the order form, are available to order free of charge, including free shipping, to all Active Duty Personnel and Veterans. Orders can be made through Annie LoCastro at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faith communities are able to place orders free of charge as well, but are asked to distribute the donated items exclusively to Military Service Members and Veterans in order to honor the intent of the donors. On a limited basis, items are available to the family members of those who serve, and served, in the Armed Services. For instance, they can provide Bibles to wives of husbands who are serving and Children’s Bibles to their children. If a faith community has a Children’s club and a high majority are children of Military members, they can provide Bibles for the club.
- If you have any additional questions, please contact Yuki Herrera at email@example.com.
Information and resources to help Veterans receive the mental health care they’ve earned. Learn more
The National Resource Directory
The National Resource Directory provides online support and access to over 10,000 services and resources. Please visit: www.NationalResourceDirectory.gov. Check your particular state for any additional benefits that may be offered.
OIC – Operation Iraqi Freedom
OEF – Operation Enduring Freedom
OND – SOperation New Dawn
Tidal Wave of Returning and Retiring Military
At the United Veterans Council it was mentioned that San Diego is #1 in the US with 37000 OIF/OEF vets served now with more to come.
Raw numbers on Religious Preference in the Military
http://www.deomi.org/contribute/DiversityMgmt/documents/AmericasMilitaryPopulation2004.pdf (see page 25 for a very rough percentage breakdown)
The Combat Veterans AnswerRing
The AnswerRing is an educational device designed to easily and quickly help Combat Veterans recognize the post-deployment problems they are having, as well as to provide these men and women with immediate suggestions for how to start getting help. The device does not offer therapy, but it does help provide a simple, totally private way for Combat Vets to recognize when therapy may be a solution. The Combat Veterans AnswerRing system allows Vets to dial in one of many common problems; then dial in how this problem makes them feel; next, dial in what their reaction is to this problem; and finally, dial in what they think about doing as a result. This process covers a huge range of possibilities (117,000 different scenarios) in a matter of minutes and is totally private.
Welcome to SDRIC!
We are a community of communities who believe that sharing, learning and serving together benefits everyone. We therefore invite you to not only explore the opportunities to learn about other traditions, but to join in the conversation, make a few friends and work together to make the greater San Diego region a better place.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know about upcoming opportunities to join the conversation.
Anyone who desires to benefit San Diego. There is no formal membership. This is a neutral, non-political, non-discriminatory collaborative of communities, agencies and individuals. People of every religious tradition as well as those who do not identify with any tradition are welcome to participate.
Groups, organizations and individuals can help defray the costs of this nonprofit site. Please vist the Donate tab.
focus on Faith
focus on Faith is our List Serv. To subscribe, send an email to email@example.com
See Programs and Services under the Home/About tab for a sample issue.