God’s Care to Veterans and Their Families

Setting Politics Aside

The 2008 Greater Milwaukee Synod took action to establish a task force for Care to Military and their families by passing resolution SC08.06.07. Resolution #4 initiated Synod support for congregations to help returning combat veterans reintegrate into their communities. Some of the “Whereases” of the resolution included ideas like welcoming the stranger and pointing out the obvious reality of war with Iraq and Afghanistan. It noted that thousands of residents were deployed from around the state and anticipated future needs of combat veterans with an eye toward healing. Lastly it emphasized that the church’s responsibility is to do a better job of caring for veterans than it had done in the past. The “Whereases” led to the following: The resolve to pray diligently for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; to encourage leaders of the church to prepare themselves for this particular ministry, to support those in active military service, to provide appropriate counseling resources; to support not just veterans but also their families; to provide and participate in education and workshops, to develop resources for congregations to address these particular ministries and to advocate for health care benefits for returning vets.

This web page is established to try to help with this process. It will primarily be a place of central resources for persons and services, designed to set politics aside and address the real needs of those who serve and their families.

God’s Peace,
The Synod Task Force for Care to Military Families

Care to military families task force contacts

The Rev. Pres Hoffman
St. John’s Lutheran Church, West Milwaukee
(414) 384-9200

The Rev. Michael Fazio
Whitnall Park Lutheran Church, Hales Corners
(414) 425-1169

Mr. Buzz Althoen
Peace and Justice Committee

Welcome Them Home – Help Them Heal

Pastoral care and ministry with service members returning from war

Leaders of at least five Greater Milwaukee Congregations are using this book in their ministry to vets and families. All have highly recommended it. Thanks to our friends at the Minneapolis Area Synod, Chapter 6: “The Churches Role #3” can be accessed here. -GMS Care to Military Families Task Force

From Welcome Them Home:

No two veterans have the same war experience, nor, upon returning from war, do they face exactly the same reintegration challenges. Likewise, veterans heal and recover in their own ways and along their own timelines.

Caregivers who understand the healing power of story can offer hope. Pastors who understand the dynamics of forgiveness and reconciliation, spiritual direction, and confessional dialogue can greatly assist veterans in their quest for peace and reconciliation. Parish nurses who gain an understanding of the health issues facing returning veterans can provide preliminary health care screenings, locate treatment resources, and advocate for veterans and their families when they receive substandard medical care.

Working together, compassionate, knowledgeable, and skilled caregivers, friends, and professionals can give veterans life-saving and life-giving care and support.

Co-Authored By:
John Sippola, Chaplain, LTC, ret., MDiv
Amy Blumenshine, MSW, MA
Donald A Tubesing, PhD, MDiv
Valerie Yancey, PhD, RN

Order a copy today here.

A “Successful” Homefront Ministry

Things required:

  • Clergy support
  • Involved and organized “committee” or group
  • Commitment to Families of Veterans as well as Veterans
  • Willingness to recognize readjustment as an ongoing issue
  • Plan for Recognizing Vets in Congregation
  • Plans/Activities for Supporting Families
  • Willingness to answer questions of “why?”
    • Why is readjustment so hard (military as institution dedicated to killing vs. culture of peace/cooperation – change created in participants)
    • Why should “my” congregation be involved? (Support for families in “our” community)
  • Commitment to ongoing learning from and teaching of other congregations, veterans, etc.

Things to Do:

  • Ask for self identification of Veterans
  • Plan recognition of Veterans
  • Plan support activities for families
  • Communicate openness to needs of families of veterans
  • Participate in other activities (“operation paperback”, etc)
  • Remember to set aside politics

Links & resources:

Other helpful links & articles: