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.