NEW: Federal Scholarship Winners for 2018-19
Andrew Berdahl and Vianney Blomgren are this year’s winners of the ELCA Federal Chaplaincy Scholarship Awards, netting $4,250 apiece for the 2018-19 academic years. Both MDIV students, they continue with their studies to become pastors.
Luther Seminary student Blomgren finds support for her journey towards chaplaincy from her favorite Biblical passage, Hebrews 10:23-25. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we process, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one
another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Likewise United Lutheran Seminary Berdahl finds his support from Ecclesiastes 12:4. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Andrew is a 2LT and Chaplain Candidate. He had a circuitous route to his commissioning in March 2018 into the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. Andrew is a first-year student at the newly formed United Lutheran Seminary
which has two campuses, Gettysburg and Philadelphia. He is a graduate of Muhlenberg College, gifted in Greek, a student of political science and history. Right after college, Andrew approached the National Guard to join with the possibly of becoming a chaplain. Along the way, he had a detour, as he was enlisted with an agreement to go to boot camp and Officer Candidate School (OCS) which would have been a possible though circuitous route. The National Guard realized that with Andrew headed to seminary and aiming for the Chaplain Corps, a more direct pathway would be appointment as a Chaplain Candidate.
Both students are invited to attend the Fund for Leaders Scholarship Awards Banquet, September 28, 2018, to receive their scholarship awards.
Ministry Moments Supporting Vets
When Rev. Laura Olsen, Eastern Washington Synod pastor, was an intern at Christ Church in York, Pennsylvania, her supervisor was asked to provide the invocation and benediction. The breakfast, a yearly event, was held at the Fairgrounds. Lines opened about 6:30 am. She got there about an hour later and the line was dozens of people long. When she arrived, in clerics, at the table she was met by a Korean vet. When he saw her in clerics he started to wave her through,( She didn’t have to pay because she was clergy). She talked him into letting her pay the $7.00 entrance fee precisely because she was an Air Force line officer veteran. She could have had a free breakfast but because she so strongly identified with veterans, she insisted on paying. There were a couple hundred vets at the breakfast. It was very good. She had never before seen so many veterans in one place for breakfast, let alone one they had to pay for.
Little did she know that years later in her first call she would get involved again in support to veterans. This simple event triggered memories and she is now an active trainer and communicator volunteer with the Centurion Connectors in support of veterans through the ELCA Federal Support to Chaplains. See the above tab marked Centurion Connectors for more information about this congregational support in your synod. SRL
CHAPLAINS: On the Front Lines of Faith
The ELCA Endorser for Federal Chaplaincy is coordinating a February 6th 2018 film screening at the Philadelphia campus of United Lutheran Seminary (ULS). Details are pending, but the documentary: CHAPLAINS: On the Front Lines of Faith, by award-winning filmmaker Martin Doblmeier (BONHOEFFER and The Power of Forgiveness, among other films), is scheduled to be shown. Here’s a summary, sample quotes from the film, and a link to the trailer:
Martin Doblmeier’s documentary Chaplains: On the Front Lines of Faith, illustrates how clergy of various faiths have been public church leaders for ages. As our culture evolves, so does the chaplain’s vocation. Here’s Martin’s narrative introduction on the film: “Chaplains are men and women who represent their own particular faith or religious tradition, but because they work mostly in public settings, are trained to be of comfort and support to everyone, religious or not. There have been chaplains on the battlefield for centuries. Today, the battlefield can be anywhere people face danger, darkness, or despair; or where people simply seek a spiritual voice in a time of need.”
The film follows chaplains in various public settings. Here is what chaplains say about their work:
“What a chaplain does is leans into the painful places.” | Karuna Thompson, Prison Chaplain. Buddhist.
“We felt that there was, like a wall between the police department and the Muslim community…” | Khalil Refai, Police Chaplain. Muslim.
“So really as a chaplain, you’re out there. You’re out there with them wherever they are.” | Paul Hurley, Army Chief of Chaplains. Roman Catholic.
“So I am the pastor for approximately 7000 people who make up the Senate side of Capitol Hill.” | Barry Black, Senate Chaplain. Seventh Day Adventist.
Eric Wester, ELCA Endorser
Art As Antidote to Moral Injury “Making art has helped me settle down and see the beautiful side of life, giving me a break from my harsh memories,” explains Vietnam vet Stephen Gates. According to Gulf War veteran Chante Wolf: “I found art and writing helped to move me where I’ve been stuck emotionally, morally and mentally. Instead of images and language of war and the military, I now instinctively seek out the beauty of the world around me.”
Eric Wester, ELCA Endorser
Check out Chaplains Featured, ELCA 2017-2018 Stories of Faith in Action. You may see the 2017-18 Stories of Faith in Action. There is a chaplaincy feature on p. 9. Also, I am including two bulletin inserts (Chaplain Cris Frigm and Pastor Nathan Huffman) for use in interpreting chaplaincy ministries. Stories of Faith in Action is an annual publication highlighting how God changes lives through ministries funded by congregation Mission Support shared with the synod and ELCA churchwide organization. Stories of Faith in Action and the bulletin inserts are designed to share the importance of weekly offerings in your congregation. These help in explaining “Where does my offering go?” and are all great to use during a congregational focus on stewardship. Chaplain Frigm was featured in 2016 and Pastor Huffman in 2017.
Eric Wester, ELCA Endorser
Pastoral Care Retreat and Growth Opportunities. ELCA pastors, synods, agencies and institutions continue to creatively engage military members, veterans, and their families. Two retreat ministry activities will be available in November. See the attached flyers for Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center, Carefree, Arizona as well as the Vets and Friends retreat in Crystal Falls, Michigan. Thanks be to God for the ways such caring ministries open connections with those affected by war-time service. God’s grace and invitation to “life that is real life” is expressed in these creative ministries
Eric Wester, ELCA Endorser
ELCA Fund for Leaders Federal Chaplaincy Scholarship Fund
Bulletin Inserts PDF and Image 2017ELCAChap-INSERT-COLOR
The climate for educating future leaders in this church has changed — financing seminary education is primarily the responsibility of each individual student. The ELCA Fund for Leaders is a seminary scholarship program that seeks to support and lift up gifted students who are called to leadership in this church. Together with individuals, congregations, and synods, the fund was able to support 241students studying at one of the eight ELCA seminaries during the 2014-2015 school years, distributing over $1.45 million. By relieving these exciting students of the challenges of debt, we are ensuring a bright future with energetic and faithful leaders in the ELCA. A specialized scholarship was established to further assist those seminarians interested in pursuing a Federal Chaplaincy ministry career path.
Friends of Wounded Warriors
Dedicated to improving the quality of life for recovering service members and their families stationed at the Marine Base on the Windward side of Oahu, and providing assistance and local resources to ease the transitions they face physically, mentally, spiritually, and professionally.
Navy Chaplain Reservist Aaron Fuller reviews an interesting resource book for the pastor and lay leader who is interested in better ministering to folks from their congregation that serve the military in a Reservist or National Guard position. This is especially true for those returning from overseas and war front duties. Read on for help now in bettering your ministry to active military and veterans alike…[more]
Music heals souls, calms minds, and relaxes stressed bodies. When you combine music with the Word of God and add other arts, you birth a gift that holistically embraces with healing the wounds of war and military service. That gift is a new CD designed specifically for spiritual and mental healing soon available free from an ELCA congregation of concerned volunteers who want to help veterans, military members, and their families find total wellness. Bethany Lutheran Church in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado formed a group called Operation One Nation Team in 2010 that has never stopped finding new ways to support military veterans, service personnel, and their families…[more]
The Rev. Christopher Laughlin (Army Reserve ELCA Chaplain) is translating Centurion Connectors into a lively and enjoyable support for military personnel through connecting congregations, cookies, and a concept of abounding grace. Pastor Laughlin was trying to wear his two hats of ministry as a Reserve Chaplain and a civilian pastor in a way to connect his reserve Soldiers and his civilian congregation. His bishop (the Rev. Dr. Craig A Satterlee) suggested his congregation bake cookies to give to his Soldiers…[more]
Navy Ensign and Luther Seminary student Joseph Pinzel is this year’s ELCA Federal Chaplaincy Fund for Leaders Scholarship recipient for 2017-18. Hailing from the LaCrosse Synod Pinzel will receive a $2,000 award at a gala banquet September 30, in Chicago, along with 48 other scholarship recipients for the coming academic year. All students are from one of seven ELCA seminaries and are able to continue receiving an award contingent on their good standing both in the candidacy process and in their academic program. [more]
Much different support to veteran ministries are springing up across the nation among ELCA congregations and synod offices. This website will attempt to recognize these efforts as information is sent to Pastor Tim Eichler at email@example.com .