Assisting the ELCA to spiritually support our military members, veterans, and their families by continually providing the best spiritual leadership possible through trained chaplains for Lutheran federal chaplaincy, providing religious literature, and sustaining other initiatives meeting the changing needs of this unique part of Christ’s body.
Provide ongoing support for military and other federal ministries via the ELCA Bureau for Federal Chaplaincies by developing specific programs sustaining pastors as chaplains, assist congregations in their outreach to member military members, veterans and their families, and lead initiatives that spiritually strengthen believers in the military or veterans. This includes establishing and promoting means for donors to partner with and underwrite these chaplaincy ministries.
WHO WE ARE
We are ELCA volunteers who promote Christ through federal chaplaincies that represent the church. Many of us are retired chaplains ourselves. We have no elaborate structure and no budget. We answer to the Advisory Committee of the Bureau for Federal Chaplaincy Ministries in the ELCA. Through new initiatives and acting as a clearing house for other initiatives in the church, we bring resources, news, and “lessons learned” to support congregations across the ELCA doing their ministry with veterans, military members, and their families.
First, we encourage and assist seminary students interested in federal chaplaincy ministry through a scholarship endowment established to collect funds for that purpose. The primary stated obstacle for women and men answering the call to chaplaincy is educational debt. This initiative seeks to reduce that block and increase more candidates for service to God and country.
Second, we help congregations by establishing and regularly improving a website for a central place to find tried and true resources help them in their ministry to military members, veterans and their families. This includes partnering with many different grass roots efforts and organizations for veteran support in a variety of ways that directly and indirectly help congregations in their ministry.
Third, we are working to make it easier for people to order copies of the Prayer Book for the Armed Forces (now in its fourth printing) to send to Lutheran folks serving in federal institutions (the military, VA hospitals, federal correctional institutions) and the Lutheran chaplains who pastor them. This includes helps on use of the Prayer Book in worship, pastoral counseling, and other ways. Note the PBAS is available on the “Sundays and Season” website.
Fourth, we encourage support to Veterans by fielding an annual award to say thanks for superior efforts on the part of individuals, congregations, synods, institutions and agencies which demonstrate significant success and creative approaches to help our Veterans. This award is called the Spirit Award and will be launched in 2015.
More initiatives are growing from the grassroots of the church daily. This website is a place to showcase these exciting new ministries and ideas for stimulation of further help and encouragement.
HOW TO WELCOME
Everyone is welcome to join an ELCA grassroots effort to bring the love of God in Jesus Christ to our Lutheran Christian followers serving in Federal institutions: the military, veteran hospitals, and federal prisons. This is a people in the pews arising with a “new thing” in reaching out with the Gospel to a group of folks who serve in challenging environments.
POINTS OF CONTACT
For ELCA seminary students or pastor to apply to chaplaincy, contact:
Pastor Eric Wester, Chaplain (Colonel), US Army (Retired)
Assistant to the Presiding Bishop and Director, Federal Chaplaincies
218 D Street SE
Washington, DC 20003