On the Spot

As submitted by Chaplain Andy Meverden to the May 2015 issue of Military Officer

Through his quick thinking – and his knowledge of military lore – a chaplain in the Army National Guard is able to keep a Vietnam veteran’s burial honors on track.

At the height of the war on terrorism, most military funeral honors for Army veterans were performed by the National Guard. As a Colorado Army National Guard chaplain, I often served as detail leader, folding and presenting the flag to the next of kin.

One day I arrived, per regulation, an hour before the inurnment of a Vietnam veteran. The funeral director pointed out the site of the columbarium and shared specific details of this ceremony. The decedent, a Denver native, had only one surviving brother, who was homeless and mentally ill. The funeral home had helped the brother prepare for the service with a shave, a haircut, and a new suit.

Our three-person team met at the columbarium, did our typical recon of the site, rehearsed the ceremony – including the start of taps (to verify the electronic bugle’s function) – and then stood ready as the small procession approached.

Another soldier and I retrieved the flag and urn from the lead vehicle, then led the small group to the veteran’s final resting place. Following the pastor’s remarks and prayer, we came to attention, saluted the flag in slow, ceremonial fashion, and waited for taps to play on the “e-bugle.”

Our “bugler” triggered the play button and raised the bugle to his lips. The first three slow, solemn notes played – then abruptly stopped! My eyes widened as I realized that despite our previous test, the bugle’s battery had failed.

There was no time to change batteries, so picking up where the bugle had stopped, I sang, “gone the sun/From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky/All is well, safely rest/God is nigh.”

Three seconds later, I lowered my salute. We stepped up and retrieved, unfolded, and refolded the flag. I turned to the brother and knelt to place the flag into his lap, saying, “This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for the faithful and honorable service rendered by your brother.” Standing up, I offered a final slow salute, then bent down to offer my personal condolences.

With tears in his eyes, he grabbed my hand and said, “Thank you.” As I turned away, he stroked the flag tenderly.

Back at the parking area, the other two soldiers and I completed our after-action review. We all agreed on the importance of fresh batteries – and that memorizing the lyrics to taps wasn’t a bad idea!

Nepal Disaster Relief

Nepal Earthquake
On Saturday, April 25, a devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 7.89 hit the capital city of Nepal. The death toll has now passed 7,500 with over 14,000 injured as the nation struggles to cope with devastation. Please pray for the church of Christ in Nepal and ministry of Christ to the people of Nepal.

CBAmerica is responding to this disaster by coordinating financial resources towards Nepal Disaster Relief. If you or your church would like help by giving financially, please send your contribution directly to CBAmerica designated, “Nepal Relief.” 100% of those funds will be passed forward to the relief effort. For information about giving, visit the CBAmerica website at www.cbamerica.org or call CBAmerica at 720 283-3030. We pray that churches and individuals will respond with prayerful compassion. with significant amount of aid to this country where our missionaries have served for many years.





SWCC Leadership Retreat

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July 29-31st at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort

You and your spouse are invited to revitalize during the SWCC Leadership Retreat, an experience for the entire church staff, elders and their spouses.  The setting is one of relaxation and renewal as you spend time at a beautiful resort with private rooms, refreshing pools, fine dining, and encouragement from the Word.

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Keynote Speaker: Robert Bishop, Redemption Hill Church

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July 29th at 3:00 PM – July 30th at 1:00 PM exclusive for pastors and their wives July 30th at 3:00 PM – July 31st at 9:00 PM all church leadership/staff and spouses join the retreat

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SWCC conference fees – $70 for single or $120 for couple includes: *Wednesday evening reception,   Conference amenities

*Thursday morning breakfast,   Conference materials Friday morning breakfast,   Snacks and beverages in hospitality suite Friday evening dinner,

*Pastors and wives only event

Registration Information HERE

2015 Annual Enrichment Conference Videos

Glory of Community

Dr Bruce WareDr. Bruce Ware is a highly esteemed theologian and author in the evangelical world. He is the professor of Christian Theology and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Ware helps us to understand the Triune persons of the Godhead and effectively communicate, to others, God’s Word with integrity. If you missed the conference, or you want to see the videos again, go HERE to view them.

REACHING YOUR CITY

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Tom MercerCome hear Tom Mercer share what he has been successfully using for years. On the average, each of us has 8 to 15 people, whom God has supernaturally and strategically placed in our relational world so that He might use us to show them His love. The Greeks used one word to describe this personal world-oikos. This workshop is not about programs or events, but a new way to view the world around us. The oikos principle is one that Jesus designed, modeled and taught, for one purpose, to change the world-a world that might just be smaller than you think! This is free for all PCN and TM member churches ($10 for all others).

 

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
San Antonio Heights Community Church
2520 N. Euclid Avenue
Upland, CA 91784
10 am to 2 pm, includes lunch.
Invite your church leadership team, staff and volunteers.

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Russell Retirement Ceremony

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Director of Chaplaincy, Al Russell and his wife Carol, were honored on March 10, 2015 at the CB Northwest Annual Enrichment Conference for over 20 years of service to CBAmerica Chaplaincy.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][x_video_embed type=”16:9″][/x_video_embed][/vc_column][/vc_row]

2015 NEXTGEN LEADERS RETREAT

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Join us for this year’s Leaders Retreat at Silver Spur Christian Camp & Conference Center. Our Guest Speaker this year will be Leith Anderson who serves as President of the National Association of Evangelicals in Washington, DC.

There’s plenty to see and do at this year’s Leadership Retreat. Experience fellowship and community, free time to explore the beautiful grounds at Silver Spur and hear gifted teaching that will encourage and impact your ministry as you connect with other pastors and leadership

Bring the whole family for a blessed time of connection & refreshment!

Get More Information and Register Here

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Mission Northeast Board Meeting Held in March

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The Mission Northeast board met March 23-25, 2015 at Cambridgeport Baptist Church in Cambridge, MA.  Paul Bothwell, Ministry Specialist and Boston Area Team Leader with Missions Door, facilitated interaction between the Mission Northeast board and pastors, church planters and Missions Door staff in the Boston area.   The goals of these meetings was to gain a better understanding of what God is doing in the Boston area and discuss ways in which Mission Northeast can foster greater collaboration with the rich multicultural and diverse ethnicity of the Boston area churches.

On Tuesday, March 24th, the board had the privilege of connecting with Workneh Tesfaye from Ethiopia, Pastor of Emmanuel Disciples Church; Torli Krua (by phone) who leads Liberian Refugee Ministry; Torli’s brother, Daniel Krua, and Torli’s father, Rev. Mahn Krua. Ralph Kee, who heads the Greater Boston Church-Planting Collaborative with Missions Door shared his passion connecting the work of the Boston area churches to the greater mission of the region.

On Wednesday morning, Pastor Roberto Miranda shared what God has been doing in the Hispanic community through the Congregación León de Judá. Neil Armandt, pastor in South End Neighborhood Church Boston, pastor for 30 years, and Ben Echevarria, a Church planter in Somerville, part of Elm St. Baptist in Everett.

The board was so encouraged by the meetings in the Boston Area that plans are to do the same in the New York City area in May.

The board will be meeting mid-April to discuss the development of a decentralized leadership network that will be strategically collaborative with the extremely diverse character of the Mission Northeast region.

 

 

 

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5 Resurrection Realities that Reorient Our Evangelism

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]untitledEvangelism rises or falls based upon the reality of the resurrection. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, there is no good news to share: sin and death still reign, we worship a dead and decomposing deity, and Christians should be pitied because we are deceived and pathetic. On the other hand, if the resurrection is true, every Christian should be compelled to share this good news liberally and with great joy.

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Moral Injury Poses Hidden Risks for Service Members

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By Beth Schwinn, DCoE Public Affairs, March 11, 2015

Dr. William Nash addresses the Mental Health Integration for Chaplain Services program.

 

 

About 30 years ago, two Navy ships were approached by refugees begging for rescue who had escaped Vietnam in underequipped boats. At the time, so-called “boat people” rescues had become so frequent that they were taking Navy ships from their missions. Officers were directed to rescue refugees only when their crafts were not seaworthy.

Capt. Corwin Bell, in command of the USS Morton, a 415-foot Navy destroyer, decided to pick up the refugees since a storm was approaching. He was later reprimanded.

Capt. Alexander Balian of the USS Dubuque, a 16,500-ton amphibious transport vessel, decided the refugees’ wooden junk was seaworthy, gave them ample food and water and sent them on their way. Crew members reported pushing the desperate refugees off the lines as they attempted to climb aboard the Dubuque, the only ship that had stopped to help during their weeks at sea. When the junk’s survivors finally reached the Philippines, newspapers there reported that some had resorted to cannibalism after again running out of food. Balian was court-martialed and resigned his commission.

Decisions like these have a lasting impact on everyone involved and can affect the brain in the same way as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), causing physiological and psychological damage, a phenomenon known as moral injury, says Dr. William Nash, a retired Navy psychiatrist. Moral injury likely affected many of those aboard the Dubuque or the junk that day, he said.

“Think about all of the people who were scarred for life or lost their lives because of this moral choice,” Nash told some 300 military chaplains and psychological health providers during a meeting of the chaplains working group, hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. “It’s tragic, but it’s not unique. I’m sure we all know of choices that seem small at the time but end up having huge moral consequences.”

The term moral injury was coined in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, when psychiatrist Jonathan Shay, then with the Department of Veterans Affairs, used it to describe the reactions of Vietnam veterans to atrocities committed or condoned by their superiors. Nash and others have since extended the term to describe what service members experience when they themselves commit an act that violates their own beliefs—for example, when a service member kills a child who is shooting at him. Working group attendees offered other examples: cutting off the ears of fallen enemy combatants as souvenirs; not stopping to give food or water to civilians who may be concealing an improvised explosive.

Moral injury is not clinically defined nor captured as a formal diagnosis, and no clinical practice guidelines are available for it. However, health care providers in the military often address moral injury when treating a psychiatric disorder. Chaplains, frequently the first resort for service members struggling with moral issues, also counsel service members who experience moral injury.

Nash offered tips for treating and counseling service members with moral injury. It’s important to understand that the emotion underlying the injury is not fear, but shame, guilt, or outrage, he said.

Psychiatry defines PTSD as a fear-based reaction that can occur after a life-threatening event such as battle or rape. Exposure therapy, in which patients repeatedly relive the event to lessen the fear reaction, has been clinically shown to be effective for PTSD.

But exposure therapy can actually worsen moral injury, Nash said. Moral injury patients need to experience not safety, but forgiveness. Chaplains and behavioral health counselors can assist by helping them understand how much blame to bear (patients may either deny all blame or exaggerate their responsibility for an event), learn to tolerate their intense negative emotions, and figure out how to become useful members of their communities or make some other form of restitution. Other techniques used in treating PTSD, such as improving physical health, group therapy, or religious practice, can also be helpful, he said.

Moral injury has become a loaded term, in part because some see it as a judgment on the person who experiences the injury. In fact, Nash said, patients who experience moral injury are likely to be highly moral.

“Psychopaths don’t experience moral injury,” he said. Service members, with their ideals of duty and honor, may be especially vulnerable to this kind of injury, Nash said.

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