Pastor Carl Ames of Christ the King Lutheran in Barboursville, West Virginia shares an effort he and his Synod are involved with in partnership with folks in his state to support military folks. Pastor Ames is a veteran. Please see below for the details concerning Partners in Care, an ecumenical group that works with the West Virginia National Guard to assist the Guard and their families, veterans, and Army Reserve folks living in West Virginia who are referred to them by the West Virginia State Guard Chaplain for assistance. In addition, this group assists the Guard with their Challenge Academy, a 22-week in residence program for troubled 16-18 year old girls and boys at Camp Dawson. The volunteer churches assist by finding mentors in the home towns of the youth who will work with them for a year. The West Virginia Partners in Care program is modeled on a similar Maryland program. The only requirement is that volunteers not mandate participation in church for any assistance given. Volunteers are free to invite people to attend their worship services though. Pastor Ames contacted the West Virginia State Guard Chaplain upon his moving to the state to learn about their opportunities to support folks after a referral from the Michigan State Guard Chaplain. Although West Virginia doesn’t have a regular military base the Guard stepped up to the challenge and included other groups. The new ELCA bishop of West Virginia, Rev. Matthew Riegel, will be attending the next meeting of this effort. Again, the local ELCA is finding ways to minister to military members and veterans in their community.
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