Where Are Our Chaplains Now?

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Prison%20Banner%20web3_JPGJohn Williams and his wife, Margy, may have retired from the US Army 30 years ago, but they are still sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

They have been living in Henderson, Nevada and are active in their area prison outreach. An Emmaus Bible Correspondence program was started several years ago by a man from the church they belong to, Bethany Baptist in Boulder City. Through this program, their ministry has sent out and received back over 5,000 courses last year alone. Including John and Margy, there are about 15 people involved in this ministry.

These Bible courses are distributed to the prisoners to teach them about God’s grace and mercy. While they are not college credit courses, they are quite challenging and are often used for parole hearings and to gain entrance into further educational programs. The curriculum of courses include specific ones that relate to prison life as well as other general and popular courses.

The influence of these courses on the inmates often extends to their families and other inmates when they see the effect of the gospel of Christ on their lives. These changed inmates then become powerful witnesses to others.

In Nevada, there are more than 20 prisons, so all interaction with the prisoners is by mail. That’s where John and Margy come in. The prisoners take exams that are often over 120 questions. Then John and Margy grade the exams. They are able to make comments and answer prisoners’ questions, while scoring them to be returned to the prisoners.

As John says, “It is thrilling to watch people come to the Lord, or come back to the Lord, and then grow in Him to make disciples themselves.  What an exciting opportunity this ministry has offered us in our “mature” years!”

When they are not grading exams from prisoners, John and Margy are enjoying the many activities available to them where they live in Nevada. They have travelled to all 50 states, flying to Alaska and Hawaii, and driving to the others in the 20 foot Class B Motorhome they used to own. They have been married 48 years and have grandkids in Colorado.Their daughter and her husband live in Kansas.

 

Go here for more information on Emmaus[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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.

Read More Here[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Mission Mid-Atlantic Annual Meeting

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We are excited to present this year’s annual meeting: Turn Around Churches. We will have a great time of fellowship and learning with like-minded believers. The meeting will be held May 1-2, 2015.

What does a church in need of turning around look like? What are some tools we can use to make the necessary changes? Have any other Churches experienced the challenges that my church is facing now? We will explore these questions and many more together as we look into God’s word together.

Click Here to Register

Contact Rebecca Tunstall at office@missionmid-atlantic.org if you have any questions.

A Note From Jim

According to Patheos.com, 4,000 churches close their doors every single year. There is less than half of the number of churches today than there were only 100 years ago. 3,500 people leave the church every single day.

Mission Mid-Atlantic is intimately aware of the state of the church in our region. As a result, the theme for our upcoming Annual Meeting in Lancaster on May 1,2 is the Turnaround Church.

We invite you to attend this year’s meeting as we give special attention to the current state of the church,and what we are trying to do to bring the Gospel to bear on the changes that need to be made.

In His easy grip,

Jim[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Social Media for Ministries Webinar

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Does your ministry have a social media presence? Whether you’re just getting your feet wet or you’re fully immersed, there’s always something to learn. Brotherhood Mutual’s next FREE webinar will cover social media best practices, as well as ways to avoid common missteps.

Register Here[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Re-thinking Mission

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Dr. Paul Borden
Rocky Mountain Church Network
Catalyst/Coach

Taken from Growing Healthy Churches May 2014 E-Newsletter

 

 

 

I recently visited a congregation that over the years had declined from 1,000 people in worship on a weekend to 100. However, the congregation is again flourishing in that there are now over 400 people present each weekend. In fact, many are becoming new disciples for Jesus Christ and the church is looking at becoming a multi-site congregation. What is most intriguing is that this is occurring in one of the most difficult regions of our nation to reach with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Obviously, God’s blessing is on this church. It is also clear that the pastor and many of his key staff members are leaders. However, there was another factor that came through loudly and clearly as I spoke to him.

This pastor and those on the staff I interacted with saw themselves as missionaries. They understood that the local body of believers does not exist primarily to serve the believers. Rather the Church is God’s missional arm to be leveraged to reach lost people. Therefore, it was important to learn and understand the micro-culture in which the church exists in order to develop strategies God might bless to communicate the Good News of life in Jesus Christ.

The pastor and the elders understood that all traditions must be placed on the altar of mission to be sacrificed if such traditions are hampering our Lord’s commission to His Church to go and make disciples. Some of those traditions are its structure, its budget, its name and other related issues that often hinder congregations from becoming truly missional. A number of key sacrifices have been made and the result is a growing church in an area where most churches do not grow.

The pastor believed God had called him to this most difficult mission field in our nation in order to make a difference. He and his staff members are not there to fulfill the traditional roles of pastor and pastoral staff caring for the demands of consumer believers. Rather they are developing leaders and leveraging the gifts of the Body to help the lost become new disciples of Jesus Christ.

We must remember that shepherds lead sheep, not for the sake of the sheep, but for the sake of the shepherd. The Church of Jesus Christ is the incarnate body of Christ today carrying out the same mission Jesus Christ carried out over 2,000 years ago. That mission is to seek and to save those who are lost. We are called to lead sheep to serve the Shepherd, not the sheep.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Mission Mid-Atlantic Annual Conference

You are invited to this year’s annual meeting May 1-2, 2015. We will be meeting at Grace Baptist Church in Lancaster, PA. It will be a great time of fellowship and learning with like-minded believers.

The title of this year’s conference is Turn Around Churches. What does a church in need of turning around look like? What are some tools we can use to make the necessary changes? Have any other Churches experienced the challenges that my church is facing now? We will explore these questions and many more together as we look into God’s word together.

There are two options available: Friday and Saturday or Saturday Only.

The cost for Saturday only is $30. This includes the conference, a continental breakfast, coffee and drinks and a full lunch spread.

We invite you to join us for our Friday night reception where we will have a catered dinner and time of fellowship as well as the full conference, breakfast and lunch on Saturday for $45.

Contact Rebecca Tunstall at office@missionmid-atlantic.org if you have any questions regarding registration.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Go Here for more information and to register

We Bid Farewell to Al Russell, Director of Chaplaincy

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]193Al Russell will be retiring later this year, but it was decided to celebrate his 21 years of service to CBAmerica ministries and chaplaincy at the upcoming CBNW Annual Enrichment Conference. This is one of the largest gatherings of Conservative Baptists and you are invited to attend. The convention is March 9-11, and the retirement ceremony will take place during the evening session on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, at the Convention Center in Seaside Oregon. (See article below)

GO HERE for details and to register for the conference.

We plan to present them with gifts that they will find meaningful; one a framed painting, “The Way to Emmaus,” that will come with an engraved brass plaque honoring their service. Another gift we would like to present is a check for $6,800 towards the purchase of a three-wheeled vehicle. With changes in Carol’s health, Al had to give up the motorcycle they used to ride for pleasure. Al believes this will be a safe and fun way for them to travel in retirement, as it is light, economical, and easily towed behind their RV.

The CBA Board has authorized a special offering for the purchase of these gifts totaling $7,000. You are invited to participate in this “love offering.” We would also like to present a memory book with letters and photos of the Russells’ ministry over the years.

Please send checks payable to CBA or items for inclusion in the memory book to the CBAmerica office at 3686 Stagecoach Rd Unit F, Longmont CO 80504. Please mark everything “Russell Retirement.”[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Chaplain Spotlight

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Chaplain Dave Lundell is the Supervisory/Lead Chaplain for the Veteran’s Health Administration in Tucson, Arizona. He is dedicated to providing chaplain support as a spiritual resource for Veterans.

He retired from active-duty military (Air Force and Army) as an Army chaplain with combat, prison and medical trauma experience. He has a background in social work and has over 30 years of military service including unit and pastoral ministry experience. The VA is committed to holistic care of our veterans, attending to their medical, psychiatric, social and spiritual well-being. Having Dave on board as a hospital inter-disciplinary clinical chaplain reflects this commitment.

Dave’s background helps him relate to what our veterans are experiencing when re-entering civilian and family life. His goal is to help them “glean the spiritual wisdom needed for successful post-military living, even with a past involving trauma.” From his experience, many veterans are open to “considering spirituality as part of their post-service quality-of-life, either personally or as part of a family.”

According to Dave, “(t)raumatic events associated with military service often raise questions about God and challenge one’s long-held beliefs. Spiritual distress may be experienced as anger, guilt, loss of intimacy, loss of joy, loss of a sense of purpose, sadness and a need for forgiveness.”

Dave invests much of his time doing in-patient visitation. But he is also available for out-patient consultation in his office. He wants to encourage and guide veterans so they can find spiritual and religious support. In addition to his consultation practice, he supports OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan), OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom), OND (Operation New Dawn) and PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) patients and leads introductory PTSD & Spirituality groups as well as Attribute Meditation to build faith. He also leads a variety of topical Bible studies.

If you would like more information on how to contact Dave, please contact the CBA office.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Yuma Area Churches meet to Pray for One Another

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Yuma Prays for Churchesby Pastor Glenn Connell

Valley Baptist Church, Yuma

Back on August 23, 2014 Pastor Rick Seltzer and Grace Bible Fellowship Church of Yuma hosted the Pastors, Deacons, and their wives of First Baptist Church of Quartzsite, Calvary Baptist, and Valley Baptist of Yuma for a time of fellowship, dinner, and prayer.

The main purpose was to pray for Calvary Baptist who had lost their Pastor and was dealing with a difficult time as a church in transition.

The Leadership of all of these churches rallied around Calvary and its leaders to encourage, to support, and especially to pray for them and their church.

To start off the New Year, on January 10, 2015, Pastor Glenn Connell and Valley Baptist Church of Yuma hosted the Pastors, Deacons, and their wives of Grace Bible Fellowship, Calvary Baptist, and First Baptist Quartzsite for a time of fellowship, dinner, and prayer.

They continued to pray for Calvary Baptist, but also this time included prayer for all of the churches and leaders represented. It was a time to encourage and to pray for each other.

It was a great time of connecting as individuals and as churches. Just as the church rallied and prayed for the Apostle Peter (Acts 12) when he was arrested, these churches rallied to pray for one another.

Yes there was a time of fellowship and excellent food, but its main purpose was to pray for one another. The men (pastors and deacons) met around a fire, shared requests and concerns. Then there was time spent in prayer.

The women (wives) met together in a room in a circle. They also shared concerns and requests followed by a time of prayer.

One nice thing about this group of Pastors is that they also meet on a regular basis as part of a Pastor’s Connection Group. This time spent together at the Connection Group helps to give further knowledge and understanding of the churches among these Pastors.

Therefore, just as the Pastor Connection Group supports and adds to these gatherings of churches, so the meetings of these churches and leaders add value to the Pastor Connection Group time.

This is just another way that Churches and Pastors are connecting in the Southwest Church Connection.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]