Wind Chimes: 16 Nov 2012

“… I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing,
I was sick and you took care of me,
I was in prison and you visited me.”

Matthew 25:35-36 NRSV

What do you hear in the chimes: mournful sounds, hopeful sounds, noise, music?

Extending Veterans Day

Remember, thank, and care for Vets not only on one day a year, but every day of the year—it’s a common sentiment in most Veterans Day speeches. Yesterday (11/15/12) I shared a link to resources and a story of hope. Today I do the same. ~dan

Women Veterans Health Care

Quote . . .

Women Veterans Health Care: This web site provides information on health care services available to women Veterans, including comprehensive primary care as well as specialty care such as reproductive services, rehabilitation, mental health, and treatment for military sexual trauma.

Have a question? Go to: Women Veterans Health Care “Frequently Asked Questions”

A story of growing involvement

Arkansas ministry helps homeless veterans re-enter society gives you an idea about how one “house” and one diocese became more and more involved in reaching out to veterans. It is a story of hope and a call to others to become involved.

In the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego the Cathedral is following this path of involvement: Friends of Military Outreach and Support

Is your congregation getting ready to help? The VA may be able to help: Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships web pages of information and invitation maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Video: “She wore these” from Veterans Health Administration on YouTube ~dan

Wind Chimes: 15 Nov 2012

Women Veterans

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

When you are away from the chimes, do they still sing their song? Can you remember their sound?

Extending Veterans Day

A common thread in most Veterans Day celebrations: remember, thank, and care for Vets not only on one day a year, but every day of the year. On Tuesday (11/13/12) I shared a video by Bishop Jay Magness which highlighted both the literal and figurative homelessness of too many women veterans. Today I offer a link to resources and a story of hope. ~dan

A resource especially for women veterans

Quote . . .In November 1994, Public Law 103-446 established the Center for Women to monitor and coordinate VA’s administration of health care and benefits services and programs for women Veterans. The Center serves as an advocate for a cultural transformation (both within VA and in the general public) in recognizing the service and contributions of women Veterans and women in the military, and in raising awareness of the responsibility to treat women Veterans with dignity and respect. The Director, Center for Women Veterans, acts as the primary advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on all matters related to policies, legislation, programs, issues, and initiatives affecting women Veterans.

From About Us on the website Center for Women Veterans

Related links

Zion House: Ending homelessness one woman veteran at a time

Zion House:

a transitional home for homeless female veterans established in 2010 by Zion Episcopal Church in Avon, New York, in the former rectory.  At its founding, Zion House was one of two such transitional homes in the nation; today about a dozen such homes exist.

Thirty women have sought refuge at Zion House in its first two years of operation. All have suffered military sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder; a quarter have had substance-abuse issues (incoming residents must be 30 days clean); and some have been schizophrenic or had bipolar and borderline personality disorders, said the Rev. Kelly Ayer, 39, director of Zion House.

Read the entire article: Transitional home helps homeless female vets back on their feet on Episcopal News Service (November 11, 2012)

Photo: Center for Women Veterans

Wind Chimes: 13 Nov 2012

“… I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing,
I was sick and you took care of me,
I was in prison and you visited me.”

Matthew 25:35-36 NRSV

Sometimes, it seems, only one note sounds in the chimes, like a bell. What do you hear?

“Unseen” — the women who serve and have served in the military

“This year I want to salute and honor the most often unseen members of our service and veteran community: the women who serve and who have served in uniform.” With these words Bishop Jay Magness (Bishop Suffragan for Federal Ministries ) begins his Veterans Day Reflection for 2012.

On Thursday I’ll have more to share. In his statement I was shocked to hear that over 5000 women Veterans sleep where they can each night for they are homeless. The words of our President are haunting: “…let us reaffirm our promise that when our troops finish their tours of duty, they come home to an America that gives them the benefits they have earned, the care they deserve, and the fullest opportunity to keep their families strong ….” (Veterans Day Proclamation 2012)

More to the point for us who follow the Way, long ago Jesus shared a story about seeing and meeting the needs of others as we live our lives. The story has this punchline: “… I tell you, just as you did it [feed, clothe, visit, offer care] to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:31-46) ~dan

Too many women who once wore our uniform now go to sleep in our streets

In a 2011 Press Release, Labor Secretary, Hilda L. Solis informs those who will listen: “Too many women who once wore our uniform now go to sleep in our streets,” she added. “It breaks my heart to see that because many of them are sick [and] in need of help, and many are hungry. And it isn’t just them — some of them have children.” The Press Release announced a “Trauma Guide” to assist others in helping women veterans.

Also in the Press Release:

  • The female veteran population is estimated to grow from 1.8 million in 2010 to 2.1 million by 2036, according to Labor Department statistics, resulting in a greater likelihood that more women veterans will need physical and psychological services.
  • Today, service providers often treat women veterans using the same methods used for their male counterparts.
  • “This guide acknowledges the experiences and challenges facing women veterans,” Solis said, “and will result in better assistance and better outcomes for these deserving women.”

Online: Trauma-Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: A Guide for Service Providers (shortened to “Trauma Guide” by helpers). Executive Summary of the Trauma Guide (a PDF file)

Church leaders say returning Vets need time, attention

May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 CEB

May we be inspired to action by the clarion call of the chimes. ~dan

Photo: Department of Veterans Affairs ~dan

Wind Chimes: 12 Nov 2012

A welcome home photo

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

It is a compassionate wind stirring the chimes today. What do you hear?

Extending Veterans Day

Yesterday I shared a prayer with you. I used the prayer in worship at St. Hugh’s Episcopal Church in Idyllwild, CA. In the Presidential Proclamation for Veterans Day, 2012, we were exhorted to a daily work of remembrance and gratitude. Today I share a note from “Church Leaders” about the needs of returning Veterans. The note is a plea and an invitation for people of faith to reach out with compassion to our returning Veterans. During the rest of the week I will find and share other voices: some highlighting the needs of our returning Vets, some asking for you and me to be involved, some reporting what is being done to care for Vets returning to civilian life, and some speaking to the needs of active duty personnel. A common thread in most Veterans Day celebrations: remember, thank, and care for Vets not only on one day a year, but every day of the year. ~dan

An every day commitment

Quote . . .On days like this, we are called to reflect on immeasurable burdens that have been borne by so few. We pay tribute to our wounded, our missing, our fallen, and their families—men and women who have known the true costs of conflict and deserve our deepest respect, now and forever. We also remember that our commitments to those who have served are commitments we must honor not only on Veterans Day, but every day. As we do so, let us reaffirm our promise that when our troops finish their tours of duty, they come home to an America that gives them the benefits they have earned, the care they deserve, and the fullest opportunity to keep their families strong and our country moving forward.

From the Presidential Proclamation to observe Veterans Day in 2012

Church leaders say returning Vets need time, attention

Quote . . .Statistics are few, but Scott McChrystal, a retired Army chaplain and the military/VA representative for the Assemblies of God, doubts that more than 5 percent of churches have an ongoing ministry for returning vets. He says churches can start small, with a coffee hour or other monthly gathering for veterans.

“The churches can make a huge contribution and most of what needs to be done, in my opinion, can be done by reasonably educated informed lay people, not experts,” said McChrystal, whose brother Stanley was the head of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan.

Read the entire article on Religion News Service (by Adelle M. Banks and dated 11/8/12)

Photo: U.S. Army photostream on Flickr ~dan