Is your congregation ministering or considering outreach to active duty military personnel, veterans and their families? Do you, other staff, or lay leaders want to make a safe, welcoming space in your community for sharing members’ stories of involvement in war or military life? These are not just questions for UU congregations near military bases — reservists are a big part of today’s military, and they live everywhere.
The UUA Faith Development Office now offers the Military Ministry Toolkit for Congregations online (PDF, 54 pages) at no charge to congregations. The toolkit provides six one-hour workshops for adults in Unitarian Universalist faith communities that seek to become more intentionally open and inviting to military service people, veterans, and their families.
Included is a 23-minute video, Embracing the Unitarian Universalist behind the Uniform, which can help begin a conversation in your congregation about why and how to explore military ministry. Schedule an event to watch and discuss the video in order to inspire support for deepening and strengthening this aspect of the congregation’s ministry.
The workshops are intended to be used as a series with a committed adult group. Study, reflection, and discussion guide participants into questions such as:
- How do we support families who have someone serving in the military?
- How can we be welcoming to military personnel who are discovering Unitarian Universalism?
- How can we invite stories of veterans and their families into congregational life?
- How can we hold honest and faithful conversations about war and peace that make room for multiple perspectives, experiences, and truths?
The Rev. Lisa Presley, chair of the UUA’s Committee on Military Ministry Task Force points out, “The military is the largest young adult multicultural institution in our country, bar none. And many serving our military would love to find a home like ours—one that supports them in the work of being moral, brave, courageous and alive in the midst of situations that threaten to tear one’s moral center and fiber away from them. Who else needs us as much as these folks do?”
The Military Ministry Toolkit can help your congregation wrestle with all of these issues, and respond with moral compassion, generosity and sensitivity.
The Military Ministry Toolkit is a revision of the Bridgebuilders program which was created under the auspices of the Church of the Larger Fellowship. The revision was written by Rev. Dr. Monica L. Cummings and Gail Forsyth-Vail of UUA staff and Rev. Seanan Holland, a Unitarian Universalist military chaplain.