Friday, June 20, 2008


Congregational Resources for Military Ministry

Here are some online links to resources for Congregations concerned with Military Ministry, caring for military families, reaching out to returning servicemembers and veterans, supporting the servicemembers in our congregations, and connecting with an supporting our military chaplains and military ministries.

Please check this page often, as we will keep it updated with the latest information.

If you have been directed to this page from the booth or one of the UUMM events at the UUA General Assembly in Ft. Lauderdale in 2008, greetings and thank you for your support for Unitarian Universalist Military Ministries!

1) Deployment Resources for America's Clergy Handbook
This handbook was created by the U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Chaplains, and is intended to provide civilian clergy with the resources they need to minister to and support military families as they deal with military deployments. It contains practical guides to connecting with military resources, beginning emergency messages through the American Red Cross, and recognizing the signs of Combat Stress and Battle Mind Injury. It also contains a wonderful article by military psychologists on understanding the Emotional Cycle of Deployment in military families. Every minister should have this resource on their shelf!

2) The Emotional Cycle of Deployment: A Military Family Perspective
This article, published in the Apr-Jun 2001 edition of U.S. Army Medical Department Journal is an excellent resource in understanding the emotional cycles that military families go through around deployments. Some of the same cycles occur around all forms of family separation, and so this is well worth the read even if you are not currently in ministry with a military family.

3) Great Lakes Military Ministry Brochure
The Great Lakes Military Ministry Project presents Sunday morning UU Worship Services for the basic training recruits at the Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training Center. This program not only reaches servicemembers with a message of UU values, principles, and faith, but also allows seminarians and Chicago area lay worship leaders the opportunity to gain experience in young adult and identity based ministry.

4) UUniforms Program, Unitarian Church of Norfolk, Virginia
This program, featured in the UU Military Ministries workshop at General Assembly, is a model for how UU congregations can reach out to the military servicemembers and veterans both within and beyond their church communities. This brochure can start your congregation on the path to beginning such a ministry within your congregation.

5) We Are Family: Storytelling with Veterans, Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL
This brochure details a project to listen to and share the stories of the members of a congregation who had served in the military. The project resulted in a small book of essays on the military experiences of the congregation members, and how those experiences have affected them and their path to Unitarian Universalism. This is a project that other congregations could follow fairly easily, and can deepen a congregation’s understanding of itself.

6) Unitarian Universalists in Military Ministries: Approval – Endorsement – Support
This brochure is an introduction to the new UUAoC Policies on how our faith trains, endorses, and supports UU ministers and seminarians serving as Chaplains and Chaplain Candidates in Federal Chaplaincy, including Military, Veteran’s Affairs, and Civil Air Patrol Chaplaincy. It also introduces the UUA Committee on Military Ministry.

7) Committee on Military Ministry
This section of the UUA website provides information from the Committee on Military Ministry, including the necessary forms for application for Ecclesiastical Approval and Ecclesiastical Endorsement, committee membership, and the annual reporting requirements of endorsed Federal Chaplains. It also includes the full and detailed UUA policy for approval, endorsement, and support of Federal Chaplains and Chaplain Candidates.

8) Battlemind
This website is a collection of resources, videos, pamphlets, and interactive material designed to help families, clergy, and servicemembers understand and cope with the difficult task of mentally, spiritually, and physically re-integrating with civilian society after returning from serving in a combat zone. If you are a minister working with a returning servicemember, please spend some time with this site, and encourage the servicemember and family to do the same.

9) Unitarian Universalism and Military Chaplaincy
This article by David Pyle addresses some of the many commonly held objections to military chaplaincy by Unitarian Universalists. Specifically, the article addresses issues such as religious pacifism, separation of church and state, religious responsibility, and the “institutional sins” of the military.

10) GA 2005 Program “Unitarian Universalists in the Military” Brochure
This brochure was for the UU’s in the Military workshop that was a turning point for UU Military Ministries. Both the brochure and the summary of what occurred in it are well worth the read in understanding the difficulty of being an outsider in the military by being a UU, and an outsider in UU by being in the military.

11) UU World Articles on Military Chaplaincy:

“Preparing for Military Chaplaincy” Two Unitarian Universalist seminarians say many in the military are receptive to liberal religion. By Leah Rubin-Cadrain 4.6.07

“UU minister joins Army as a chaplain” The Rev. George Tyger prepares for summer deployment. By Donald E. Skinner 1.4.08

“A pacifist's salute" A Unitarian Universalist military chaplain can’t fight but honors those who do. By Cynthia Kane 5.29.06

“Embattled Faith” A personal exploration of uncomfortable questions: How do you "support the troops" when you oppose the war? Is there a Unitarian Universalist approach to war and peace? By Neil Shister July/August 2003

Please continue to check this list, as resources will continue to be added as they are developed. If you have a resource you would like to share, please send it to

Yours in Faith,

David Pyle

Coordinator, UU Military Ministries

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Profound Thanks of the Great Lakes Military Ministry Project

The Great Lakes Military Ministry Project, our UU Worship Services at the Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training Center, would like to offer our gratitude to several individuals and organizations who have recently supported our ministry in varied but profound ways.

First, we would like to thank the Central Midwest District of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregation for their generous donation of 30 "Singing the Living Tradition" Hymnals for use by our recruits. This will allow us to greatly expand our music program, at the same time it benefits the ministerial formation of our seminarian worship leaders, by deepening their experience with the hymnal. The cost of this gift came to almost 1,000 dollars. It was approved by Rev. Ian Evison and Dori Davenport Thexton, and ordered by Peggy Boccard... thank you all!

Second, we would like to thank Rev. Brian Covell and the Third Unitairan Church of Chicago for the donation of a new stereo system for the project, with a remote control, CD player, and I-Pod dock. This has greatly expanded our ability to present worship, allowing our worship leaders to bring music in several different formats, and to control the music without leaving the pulpit. Before, we were borrowing a stereo each week. We would also like to thank Rev. Covell for agreeing to serve this next year as the Ministerial Mentor/Advisor for the seminary students participating as worship leaders in the project. Thank you Brian!

Third, we would like to offer our continuing gratitude to the minister and congregation that brought about the formation of this ministry, Rev. Barbara Pescan and the Unitarian Church of Evanston. Not only do we want to thank you for making the Great Lakes Military Ministry Project your Special Offering for the month of June, but also for the donation of our wonderful chalice, and your continuing support in providing worship leaders. We would also like to thank UCE for agreeing to continue to accept donations to the project for us. Without your support, this ministry would not be happening... thank you.

Fourth, we would like to thank the Church of the Larger Fellowship for their continued donation of pamphlets and brochures on Unitarian Universalism, which provides recruits with a way to continue their connection to our faith after they graduate from Basic Training. We also want to thank them for the continuing conversation on how to better connect our UU's in the Military with our faith. Rev. Jane Rzepka, and Lorraine Dennis have been wonderful at providing this necessary resource and support to us each and every time we ask. Thank you!

Fifth, we are honored to offer our gratitude to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee for their selection of Seanan Holland and the Great Lakes Military Ministry Project to receive the 2008 Seminarian Award. Thank you for the opportunity to highlight this ministry, and to share it with the wider Unitarian Universalist Community. To Charlie Clements and the UUSC board, we offer our deep thanks!
This also leads us to thank and honor Seanan Holland, as he leaves the directorship of the project to go to Rockville Maryland for his ministerial internship. Seanan, you have been the rock that held this ministry togehter, and we are very, very proud of you. Have a great internship!

And of course, we are deeply grateful for all of the volunteers who have served as Worship Leaders in this past year. You have touched lives... and is there better ministry than that?

Please join us at General Assembly in Ft. Lauderdale for the workshop on Founding and Sustaining a Military Support Group, or for the UUSC Awards Ceremony. Please click here if you are not going but would like to read the brochure of the Great Lakes Military Ministry Project.

Yours in Faith,

David Pyle
Project Director
Great Lakes Military Ministry Project
2LT, USAR Chaplain Candidate

We look forward to a wonderful Summer, and a wonderful year of ministry.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Online Survey on UU and Military attitudes

UUniforms, Unitarian Church of Norfolk's military support group, is conducting an online survey about your individual and congregational attitudes towards those working in and with the military:

All answers are confidential and the results will be used to augment our General Assembly '08 presentation "Founding and Sustaining a UU Military Support Group."
This survey takes about 20 minutes to complete. It can be accessed
from our the Unitarian Church of Norfolk homepage ( or directly from

Please complete your survey by June 6th. Point of contact is Lou Portella at
Your participation and support is greatly appreciated.

In faith & fellowship,

Chaplain Cynthia L. G. Kane
Lieutenant, Chaplain Corps, United States Navy

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Unitarian Universalist Military Ministries News!

Spring 2008

In this Spring issue:

1) General Assembly Workshop
2) Presence at the Ministry and Professional Leadership Booth at GA
3) Salute to Maj. Greg Rouillard
4) Update on the Great Lakes Project
5) Request for UU’s in the Military participation in the Peacemaking Congregational Study / Action Issue discussion

1) General Assembly Workshop

The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations General Assembly is coming up, from June 25th to 29th, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. UUniforms, a program at the UU Church in Norfolk, VA, will be presenting a workshop entitled “Founding and Sustaining a UU Military Support Group. Here is their blurb:

"FOUNDING AND SUSTAINING A UU MILITARY SUPPORT GROUP" --- Unitarian Universalists always have been integral to our nation's military and Department of Defense. Many congregations want to be more welcoming to its military/DoD members and their families but don't know how. This presentation offers practical advice about successfully founding and sustaining a group for fellowship and support. The program is scheduled for Thu 26 June, 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM, Convention Center, Grand Floridian G. The program will be presented by Lou Portella and CH Cynthia Kane… though other UU Military Ministry members will be in attendance.

Click here to see a flyer on the workshop. Join us!

Click here to learn more about General Assembly.

2) Presence at the Ministry and Professional Leadership Booth at GA

At the invitation of Rev. Beth Miller, UU Military Ministries will be maintaining a “Uniformed Ministry of Presence” at the Ministry and Professional Leadership Booth at General Assembly in Ft. Lauderdale. Our goal is to have a Chaplain, Chaplain Candidate, or UUMM Project Associate at the booth to answer questions about the military, military chaplaincy, and UU’s who serve in the military, as well as to provide a contact point. Literature will be available for clergy, as well as for families and spouses of servicemembers. There will also be literature available on the UUA’s Committee on Military Ministry. Please come by and say hello!

There is also a planned meeting of the Committee on Military Ministry at General Assembly, as well as an opportunity for those who are interested in Military Chaplaincy and Military Ministry to ask questions of the Committee, serving Chaplains, and Rev. Beth Miller, the UUA’s official Military Chaplain Endorser. When those plans are finalized, the dates and times will be announced through the UUMM website.

3) Salute to Maj. Greg Rouillard

UU Military Ministries wants to salute and congratulate Maj. Greg Rouillard on his upcoming retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps. Many of you may know Maj. Rouillard from his online name of “Slidestorm” and also from his blogs “(r)evolutions” and “A Virginia UU in King George’s War”, as well as being one of the panelists at the UU Military workshop at General Assembly in 2005.

Maj. Rouillard also began the “UU’s in the Military” Blog, when he sensed there was a need for UU’s to build greater community. His faithful service to our nation, as well as to our liberal religious tradition, reflect great credit upon himself, his family, his friends, and his congregation. Greg has been instrumental in being one of the first voices calling for UU’s in or affiliated with the military to build community. Here is the email he sent out…


This e-mail is to announce my upcoming retirement from the Marine Corps.
I wish that all of you could join me for my ceremony on May 9 in Virginia, and I realize that it's pretty unlikely given where you live.

If for some reason you think you might be able to come, please let me know and I'll send you more details.

At any rate, my retirement is official on June 1, and on June 2 I begin a new job with Organizational Strategies, Inc. (OSI), doing much the same work I've been doing the past two years, in the same office, with the same people. We have decided to stay in Virginia for the time being to see what happens with the housing market and some other things. Our eventual goal is to live in an intentional community in Boulder, CO.

I hope to hear from you - with some it's been years since we've been in touch.
If you know of anyone else who might be interested in knowing about my retirement, please forward this message.

Best Regards,
Greg Rouillard

We salute you sir! Thank you for your service. And on a personal note, I (David Pyle) would like to thank you for the trust and confidence you have shown in trusting me to steward the UU’s in the military group. Semper Fi! (or, in my language, AIRBORNE!)

4) Update on the Great Lakes Project

The UU Military Ministries sponsored project that provides Sunday Morning UU worship services for the basic training recruits at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center is growing, and seeking to find ways to build deeper connections with local UU organizations. The program, which has been a partnership of UUMM with the Meadville Lombard Theological School and the Unitarian Church of Evanston, is seeking to broaden its base of support.

Currently, the program is averaging between 25 and 40 recruits for worship each Sunday morning, and has involved over 12 worship associates from Meadville and UCE. This years project director is LTC Seanan Holland, a Marine Corps Reserve officer and a 3rd year Meadville student working towards Naval Chaplaincy. The program has been reaching a broad range of recruits, many of whom have never encountered Unitarian Universalism before.

Next month, the Great Lakes Project will be meeting with representatives of the Central Midwest District of the UUA, the Meadville Lombard Theological School, the Chicago Area UU Council, the Unitarian Church of Evanston, and the Chicago Liberal Association of Ministers to discuss ways to deepen the connection of the Chicago area to the Great Lakes Project. Our goal of that meeting is to develop ways to insure that the UU worship services for Naval recruits continues for years to come.

If you would like to support the project, please contact David Pyle at

5) Request for UU’s in the Military participation in the Peacemaking Congregational Study / Action Issue discussion

Glenn E. King, a member of the Peacemaking Resources Working Group, and the Ministerial Intern at the First Church UU, in Leominster MA, has requested that those military and military affiliated Unitarian Universalists who wish to have their voices heard in the continuing discussion around the current Congregational Study / Action Issue contact him. Here is the email he sent to UUMM.

Greetings, I have a request which I hope you can help with. I am not in the military, however I am hoping your blog members can help out. I am currently working with a core team on the Peacemaking Congregational Study Action Issue and one thing we have determined is that voices from the military are not being heard on this issue. If any members would like to be involved in a "Military Voices" working group, that would examine this issue, please have them get in touch with me.

More information on the CSAI can be found at

Thanks much,
Glenn E. King
Peacemaking Resources Working Group
Ministerial Intern, First Church UU, Leominster, MA

Our voices are important in this discussion, so lets be heard! Anyone who is interested can contact Glenn directly.

6) “Deployment Resources for America’s Clergy” is now online!

Over the years, UUMM has regularly received requests from Unitarian Universalists Ministers for resources on how to better minister with servicemembers and their families. The U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Chaplains has produced a resource document for civilian clergy on this issue. Here is a link.

We are currently using this document as the basis for a workshop for civilian clergy being presented by UUMM in the Evanston, Illinois area, and hope to expand that work. It contains information on the role of civilian clergy in providing information and support to military families, and also provides some basic pamphlets that can be handed out. It also contains an excellent article written by military psychologists on the emotional cycle a military family goes through during a deployment. It is a great resource for ministers to have on their shelf.
If the brochures in this version do not print well for you, let UUMM know and we will send you a version in Microsoft Word.

Thank you all for your service, as servicemembers, as military family members, as veterans, and as allies. If UUMM can be of service to you, just contact us at .

Yours in Faith,
David Pyle
2LT, USAR Chaplain Candidate
Student, Meadville Lombard Theological School
Ministerial Intern, Unitarian Church of Evanston
Coordinator, UU Military Ministries

Friday, January 4, 2008

UUMM Welcomes Two New Chaplain Candidates

UUMM would like to welcome and congratulate two new U.S. Army Chaplain Candidates!

Second Lieutenant James White is a student at the Meadville Lombard Theological School. He was sworn in as a Chaplain Candidate by 2LT David Pyle, in a ceremony at the serminary. James is a prior service Sergeant/E-5 who has served in Iraq and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Prior to coming to Meadville, James was on active duty at Ft. Hood, TX. James is a graduate of Oklahoma State University. James is a Army Reserve Chaplain Candidate.

Second Lieutenant Luke Leonard is a student at the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, MN. Luke is also an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, having served in Mosul with the Iowa National Guard. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant / E-6 prior to his commission. He also served on Active duty in Seoul, South Korea. Luke is a graduate of the University of Iowa. Unlike James, Luke is a Minnesota National Guard Chaplain Candidate.

We welcome both of them to UUMM, and to the largest young adult ministry in the world!

Yours in Faith,

David Pyle,

2LT, USAR Chaplain Candidate

UU World Article on CH George Tyger

UU World (the Unitarian Universalist Denominational magazine) has published a wonderful online article on Chaplain (CPT) George Tyger. Chaplain Tyger is the UUA's only fellowshipped minister serving currently on Active Duty.

The article also includes some comments from Rev. Beth Miller, the Director of the UUA's Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group on the need to support military chaplains, as well as the new UUA policies on military chaplaincy.

Check out the article at and great work George!

Yours in Faith,

David Pyle

2LT, USAR Chaplain Candidate