Wind Chimes: 19 Nov 2012

Alone

[Hannah] was deeply distressed
and prayed to the Lord,
and wept bitterly.

Hannah was praying silently;
only her lips moved,
but her voice was not heard

1 Samuel 1:10, 13 NRSV

The chimes, barely audible, sound like a prayer today. What do you hear?

Prayer is

Prayer is, then, to speak more boldly, a conversation with God. Though whispering, consequently, and not opening the lips, we speak in silence, yet we cry inwardly. For God hears continually the whole inward conversation. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – c. 215) Stromateis 7.7.

Cindy Crosby;Thomas C. Oden. Ancient Christian Devotional: Lectionary Cycle B (Search term: Proper 28). Kindle Edition.

Prayer is

Prayer is responding to God,
by thought and by deeds,
with or without words.

From the Book of Common Prayer, page 856

Take our tears, Lord

Take our tears, Lord: to water the seeds of prayer.

Psalm 6:6–9

I grow weary because of my groaning
every night I drench my bed and flood my couch with tears.

My eyes are wasted with grief
and worn away because of all my enemies.

Depart from me, all evildoers
for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.

The LORD has heard my supplication
the LORD accepts my prayer.

Take our tears, Lord: to water the seeds of prayer.

Claiborne, Shane; Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan; Okoro, Enuma (2010-11-09). Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (p. 168). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Photo: by epSos.de on Wikimedia Commons

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

THOSE SERVED by Wounded Warrior Project

THOSE SERVED by Wounded Warrior Project

In our Opportunity Calendar you will find a description of the Wounded Warrior Project with links to other Veteran’s resources. Today, via their Facebook Page, Wounded Warrior Project shares who they serve and why

More about THOSE SERVED by Wounded Warrior Project

In our Opportunity Calendar you will find a description of the Wounded Warrior Project with links to other Veteran’s resources. Today, via their Facebook Page, Wounded Warrior Project shares who they serve and why

Sixth Day of Christmas: VFW National Home For Children

VFW National Home For Children

Until this week I had never heard of this National Home. What an amazing resource for all our veterans and their families. ~dan rondeau

About the VFW National Home For Children

The VFW National Home for Children serves as a living memorial to America’s veterans by helping our nation’s veteran and military families.

 Since its founding in 1925, the VFW National Home for Children has grown from an old frame farm house to a sprawling campus with playgrounds, park areas, and multiple buildings, including single-family homes, a community center and gymnasium, child care center, guest lodge, chapel and administrative offices.

The National Home’s services have also evolved to meet the changing needs of America’s military and veterans’ families. Through our Helpline and our on-campus programs, we are able to help families and children through times of crisis, both here on our beautiful campus and in their own communities nationwide.

About Us: VFW National Home For Children

The Twelve Days of Christmas Calendar in one place
About the Twelve Days of Christmas Calendar

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For further reflection

In their own words – a short (8 min) overview 

National Home Helpline
800-313-4200 |
help@vfwnationalhome.org

The National Home Helpline is the gateway to help for military and veterans’ families. Whether you need help connecting with supportive services and resources in your own community or you are seeking a referral to one of our on-campus programs, you can take comfort in knowing that your call will be answered by a caring professional who understands the unique challenges faced by today’s military and veterans’ families.

The VFW National Home for Children has more than 85 years of experience helping military and veterans’ families by providing counsel, support and connections with resources nationwide. The National Home Helpline is staffed by a dedicated team of caring, listening professionals who work directly with callers to help them find solutions to their pressing issues and concerns. Our resources go beyond community connections and traditional supportive services to include VFW Posts, Departments and Veterans Service Officers across the country.

The Helpline is answered Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

Source: How we help on the VFW National Home For Children website

Logo: VFW National Home For Children

Advent Calendar Day 27: CareForTheTroops

CareForTheTroops

With the war in Iraq officially ended and the troops coming home, the challenges faced by these returning troops demands our attention and response. In Georgia the Rev. Robert Certain (Fifth Rector of St. Margaret’s), men from the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, and a couple of parishioners  organized an effort to meet the needs of returning veterans and their families. CareForTheTroops is a catalyst for action in Georgia and provides care. Moreover, CareForTheTroops provides a model for other faith-based and community efforts to increase awareness of the challenges faced by returning veterans and their families and provides a model for reaching out to those who have served us well.  ~dan rondeau

Quote . . .Dedicated to the mental health care of our returning troops and their families, we provide information and training to families, clinicians, congregation and community leaders, so that they become more aware of the culture, unique symptoms and issues faced by military families. (CareForTheTroops Home Page)

Mission Statement

  • Work to improve the ability of the civilian mental health infrastructure in the State of Georgia, then nationally, to work with military family members
  • Facilitate connecting military families to providers of spiritual and psychological services familiar with the military culture and trauma
  • Focus on addressing combat stress recovery as well as other spiritual and mental health related problems impacting the marriages and families of military veterans
  • Educate and train clinicians, congregation and community leaders, extended family, and civilian groups about the military culture and trauma associated with military deployments in order to better assess and treat mental health symptoms, and provide more effective referrals and care Provide opportunities for additional trauma treatment training to clinicians
  • Operate in an interfaith, non-political manner, focusing on the humanitarian interest that benefits the veterans and their extended family members

Source: CareForTheTroops

Previous Advent “windows” about caring for our Veterans

Advent Calendar in one place
About the Online Advent Calendar


For further reflection

Wounded Marine Corp veteran Adam Lewis outside his home on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011 in Yulee, Fla

Wounded Veterans Struggle To Find Civilian Jobs Amid Downturn, Bureaucracy

Adam Lewis, a strapping Florida man, joined the Marines in 2004 when he was 19, and within a year he was fighting in Iraq’s Anbar Province with Golf Company, 2nd Marine Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. It was a bloody time in Anbar, with vicious and sometimes hand-to-hand combat with insurgents. Lewis kept busy.

He was first wounded in August 2005 by a bomb blast that perforated an eardrum and left him with ringing in his ears and other injuries. He wasn’t hurt badly enough to be sent home, so he went back on duty and was traveling in a Humvee when the road gave way and he tumbled down an embankment, suffering compression fractures in his back. The Marines put him on light duty until he felt better, and he went back out into the fight.

This time, during operations in Fallujah, Lewis was shot in the head by a sniper. Luckily he had just turned his head and the bullet struck his skull at an angle, but the wound was still severe. After surgery came more than two years of rehab, culminating with his retirement from the Marine Corps on medical grounds in 2007.

To help himself land a god job and a career, Lewis took remedial reading courses to help repair the damage from his head wound, and went on to college. It took him three years to earn his associate degree. He got married and has a two-year-old daughter. This past summer he began seriously looking for work.

So far, no luck.

Having given so much for his country, Adam Lewis, at 26, has been without meaningful employment for four years, and is frustrated and angry after four months of intense job hunting.

Read the rest of Adam’s story to see why organizations like CareForTheTroops will be needed for a long time to come

Other stories to raise awareness

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Photo: Huffington Post article of 11/11/11


Advent Calendar Day 20: Disabled American Veterans

Disabled American Veterans (DAV)

Richard in our Forum is the Service Officer for the local Chapter of the DAV. Our congregation is filled with men and women who have served our country, served us; some have survived wounds received in their service to us. We owe a debt of gratitude to these men and women. ~dan

Mission Statement

Building better lives for America’s disabled veterans.

DAV Home Page: Disabled American Veterans
DAV Chapter 66 Palm Springs 

Previous posts about Veterans

Advent Calendar in one place
About the Online Advent Calendar


For further reflection

You can help


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Image: DAV logo from their website.
Video: Public Service Announcement by the DAV on YouTube


Advent Calendar Day 13: Veterans Village of San Diego

Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD)

(The Rev.) Bill Mahedy (d. 2011) helped me find my way into the Episcopal Church. Bill helped many others find their way. Moreover, he taught us all how to “pay it forward.” ~dan rondeau

Quote . . .Veterans Village of San Diego was founded in 1981 by Vietnam veterans who were struggling with the traumas of war and looking to enhance services from the VA that were available to them at that time.

One day in 1981, five of them were sitting around in a group counseling session, talking seriously about mounting a combat assault on the VA. They knew they would probably get arrested but they were desperate to shine a spotlight on the lack of medical and psychological care for Vietnam veterans.

As luck would have it, the facilitator of the counseling session was Father William Mahedy, who served as an Army chaplain in Vietnam. Mahedy made a suggestion to the group. “Why don’t you take this energy and do something that will really make a difference?”

The group took the suggestion to heart and formed Vietnam Veterans of San Diego to help their comrades who were sleeping on the streets, under bridges and in parks.

From this modest beginning, VVSD has evolved over the past three decades into a nationally-recognized , non governmental organization known for delivering innovative services to veterans. (From the “History of Veterans Village of San Diego”)

Mission of Veterans Village of San Diego

“Leave no one behind.”

For the rest of the story: History of Veterans Village of San Diego.

Veterans Village of San Diego Home Page. Hear what the Spirit is saying.

Advent Calendar in one place
About the Online Advent Calendar


For further reflection

What is Stand Down?

In times of war, exhausted combat units requiring time to rest and recover were removed from the battlefields to a place of relative security and safety. Today, Stand Down refers to a community-based intervention program designed to help the nation’s estimated 200,000 homeless veterans “combat” life on the streets.

VVSD organized the nation’s first Stand Down in 1988. Since then, the program has been widely replicated nationwide. Today, more than 200 Stand Downs take place across the country every year. “The program has become recognized as the most valuable outreach tool to help homeless veterans in the nation today,” according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

Stand Down’s philosophy is a hand up, not a hand out. The hand up is made possible each year by the dedication of thousands of volunteers and numerous sponsors.

Meals are prepared by VFW, American Legion, VVSD, Kiwanis, and supported by the Lions Clubs, Rotary and local food distributors.

Perhaps most important of all is the feeling of safety. For the first time in possibly days, weeks or even months our homeless brothers and sisters can leave their possessions in the care of others and rest.

Stand Down is a place of miracles. Lives are changed and lives are saved. The founders of Stand Down had a dream. They made it a reality, one which continues to offer a true stand down for all homeless veterans. (from the VVSD Stand Down Page)

Stand Down – a YouTube video glimpse into Stand Down in San Diego

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Photo: VVSD website