New Chapters for New Ministry Opportunities
Among our goals for 2013 is the establishment of some new local chapters of the MCA. We currently have active chapters in Pennsylvania, the National Capital, South Carolina, Florida, and Washington. As I look over the list of places with a dozen or more members living within a few miles of each other, I can find about 30 additional communities where we can make a positive and united impact on our continued ministry to the armed forces, veterans, and their families. Efforts are now underway in two of those locations to establish chapters.
While I am not particularly fond of meetings for the purpose of fellowship alone, I am very concerned about doing work with like-minded colleagues. Here are a few suggestions for our members, particularly those of us no longer in uniform, to consider:
- Provide on call readiness for crises in military family lives
- Meet military members traveling on emergency leave to offer pastoral support to them and their families
- Respond to requests for funerals of veterans when a uniformed chaplain is not available
- Teach congregations and civic organizations about the value of veterans and their families as members of their communities
- Train our own congregations to understand the stresses of military life and to form focused ministries to respond to those stresses
- Raise awareness of presence of Reserve Component families in the community and of the pastoral needs they have
- Work with the National Guard to develop Partners in Care programs
- Provide chaplains to other VSOs in our communities
Active and Reserve Component military chaplains, as well as VA chaplains, cannot meet all the demands on their time. Retired and former chaplains can support them by giving a little of our time to take some of the burden.