Showing posts with label military chaplains. Show all posts
Showing posts with label military chaplains. Show all posts

Monday, May 27, 2024

Bring Forth What Is In You

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 27, 2024

Memorial Day always brings me back to why I started to do this work over 4 decades ago. Back then, the only information I could find about #PTSD focused on veterans, like my veteran. He's a Vietnam veteran. It is because of veterans like him coming home with the unseen wounds of war that we learned about what surviving does to survivors of all traumatic events.

If you read anything about men and women being willing to die for the sake of this nation, know this, those who survived never stopped paying the price for it. No one was forced to fight back then and no one was warned about what it would do to them other than losing their lives or limbs. The wound they brought back home needed to be healed but no one knew how to treat it.

Now we know better. We know there is a price to pay for surviving. Mental Health professionals have seen it firsthand by brain scans and learning from their patients. They focused on the mind. Physical therapists learned how to help veterans control what it did to their bodies with treatments such as Yoga. They focused on the body. Sadly, the problem was that the spiritual aspect of what was also inside their patients needed to be addressed, but wasn't.

The military has relied on Chaplains to care for the spiritual needs of service members. The Veterans Administration has recently focused on the spiritual healing of veterans with PTSD. Have you ever heard about the price far too many clergy members pay for what they do? The truth is that 35% meet the criteria for PTSD. They treat civilians so it is easy to see how military chaplains can pay the price as well as them. 

The most important thing that keeps getting missed is, that everything you need to heal is within you but the chaplains don't seem to know it is also in them.

The Gnostic Gospels Frontline
Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
You were created for a purpose. If you decided to be willing to pay the price to serve others, everything you needed, was in you from the beginning. Courage and compassion were in you along with the ability to make peace with what you had to endure and heal from within. Otherwise what gifts you have within you will allow PTSD to destroy you.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
If you believe you are paying a price as if God judged you for whatever wrong you think you may have done, it blocks your ability to heal. If you know there is nothing you cannot be forgiven for, it frees your ability to use what He put in you.
Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:14
As for Chaplains, you were sent with everything you need to heal within you. Isn't it time to bring forth what is in you too? Once you do, you will become the healing power as a minister to their spirits.

It is time for all of you to come out of the dark and realize you are not alone. Have the courage to open up about your struggles and then use your compassion to help others heal.

Kathie Costos author of For The Love Of Jack His War My Battle, The Warrior Saw, Residual War, The Scribe Of Salem, The Visionary Of Salem and the 13th MInister Of Salem.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

More than 2,800 chaplains across the U.S. military, not enough to serve those who serve

Recruiting Challenges for Chaplains Mirror Other Military Jobs

Department of Defense
January 16, 2020
"Less than 1% of American youth actually have somebody in their immediate family who has served at any time in their lives." Lernes Hebert, Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Military Personnel

With more than 2,800 chaplains across the U.S. military, representing dozens of faith groups, maintaining adequate manning is a challenge. Those challenges are not unique, however, in that they match those faced by recruiters for other officers and enlisted personnel as well.

During the annual Armed Forces Chaplains Board endorsers conference today at the Pentagon, Lernes Hebert, the deputy assistant defense secretary for military personnel policy, spoke with chaplains and chaplain endorsers. He addressed the complexity of recruiting chaplains from a population of Americans that are today more unfamiliar with the military than they have ever been in the past.

"Somehow you have to communicate to an American population who is getting further and further removed from its military," Lernes told endorsers, who are the civilian representatives of faith groups responsible for helping chaplains into the military.
"It's about caring for their brothers and sisters, it's about caring for individuals who have dedicated themselves to public service, and sacrificing things the American people typically don't fully appreciate."
read it here

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Air Force Chaplain gives assurance life can get better

On suicides, Air Force’s top chaplain preaches hope over darkness to Yokota airmen

Published: February 21, 2019
Schaick, 60, who commands 2,000 chaplains and religious affairs airmen, told the Yokota personnel that life can go to a dark place, but it always gets better.
Air Force chief of chaplains Maj. Gen. Steven Schaick told airmen gathered for a prayer breakfast Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, at the Enlisted Club at Yokota Air Base, Japan, that everyone experiences "moments of darkness" but that things get better in the end. SETH ROBSON/STARS AND STRIPES
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Even a two-star general has “moments of darkness,” the Air Force chief of chaplains told servicemembers Thursday at the home of U.S. Forces Japan in western Tokyo.

Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Steven Schaick told several airmen gathered for a National Prayer Breakfast event at the Yokota Enlisted Club that, like everyone, he experiences disorientation, for example, on days when there are complaints at work, his kids don’t answer the phone or he has issues with his wife.

“There is a spirit in this world who wants us to believe that is where it ends,” he said. “There are airmen all over Yokota who believe this even now … We had 100 airmen last year who decided that death by suicide was their only way out.”

Yokota’s 374th Maintenance Group had a string of airman suicides in 2016 and Pacific Air Forces dispatched a “suicide prevention support team” to investigate there and at Misawa and Kadena air bases.
read more here

Thursday, October 25, 2018

‘Indivisible’ How God Healed Army Chaplain’s Broken Marriage

New Movie ‘Indivisible’ Tells Powerful Story of How God Healed Army Chaplain’s Broken Marriage

Faith Wire
By Tré Goins-Phillips Editor
October 24, 2018
Just like muscles ache after an intense workout, Turner’s understanding of normalcy had crashed along with his marriage, and after such a harrowing tour overseas, his mind ached as he struggled to adapt to a life that was once routine but within the span of just one year had become so foreign.

Not often can people say their stories have received the Hollywood treatment, but for former U.S. Army Chaplain Darren Turner, that’s exactly what’s happened.

The decorated Iraq War veteran and his family are the subjects of the forthcoming movie, “Indivisible,” which chronicles Turner’s journey home from war, when he was forced to combat the emotional hardships threatening his marriage.

“It still is — and probably always will be — weird,” Turner told Faithwire, explaining how “surreal” it is to see his life’s experiences recreated on the silver screen.

Turner and his wife, Heather, had been married for about three years and were confident they wanted to go into ministry, but they just didn’t know where they were supposed to serve. Not long after they started looking at their options, Heather reconnected with an old college friend who’d married an Army chaplain.
read more here

INDIVISIBLE Official Trailer (2018) War Movie

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Iraq Veteran shows suicide issue "too big to ignore"

Tulsa veteran creates mural to discuss suicide, an issue 'too big to ignore'
Tulsa World
By Reece Ristau
13 hrs ago
“I want people to know that these real heavy emotions are (OK),” Butts said Friday morning. “You can talk to people about it. You don’t have to be scared of it. When you take off your mask and I take off my mask, it’s, ‘Oh, you’ve got stuff, too.’ We all have stuff.”
As a chaplain’s assistant during the Iraq War, Josh Butts tended to the emotional health of his battalion members, some of whom have since died by suicide.

As a graphic designer in Tulsa, Butts is now using art to bring awareness to the scope of that public health issue.
On Friday, Butts used chalk to create an elaborate mural of an airliner. The mural, called “Too Big to Ignore,” comprises phrases used by those affected by suicide and images representing the pain of such loss. Drawn on the side of the Hardesty Arts Center (AHHA) in the Tulsa Arts District, the airplane represents the 123 people who die in the United States each day by suicide.
read more here

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

British Army Chaplain "PTSD is wound that does not bleed"

Whanganui reverend and ex British Army padre speaks of wounds that don't bleed
New Zealand Herald
Liz Wylie
25 Apr, 2018

Reverend Stephen Van Os lives a quiet life in Whanganui these days but in previous years he was living on the edge of war zones.

As a padre for the British Army for 30 years, he was posted to combat zones in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan where he gave spiritual support to combat personnel.

Although he was aware of Post Traumatic Stress Injury (also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), it did not occur to him that he may be affected.

"It wasn't until I was back on 'civvie street' that I realised things were not right.
"This younger generation of veterans have to deal with many of the same life challenges of those earlier generations of servicemen and women but perhaps without the understanding of the public that they too had experienced some dangerous, stressful and personally distressing situations in their service for New Zealand."
read more here

Monday, March 26, 2018

Congress tells Navy "No Atheist Chaplains"

No ‘atheist’ chaplains, lawmakers tell Navy
Navy Times
By: Mark D. Faram
4 hours ago

A command religious ministries department divisional officer and a chaplain baptize a sailor aboard the carrier George Washington. A self-described "humanist" has had multiple attempts at becoming a Navy chaplain denied.
(MC3 Eric S. Brann/Navy)

Lawmakers are applauding a decision by Navy officials to reject the application of a secular humanist — called an atheist by many — to be a Navy chaplain.

It’s the second time the sea service has declined to accept Jason Heap, who calls himself a “humanist” and and a “non-theist,” into the chaplain corps.

A “humanist” is one who doesn’t believe in a god, but in the natural ability of humans to “lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity,” according to the Humanist Society.

The latest denial of Heap’s application is at the center of a debate on whether or not one who doesn’t believe in a deity can serve as a military chaplain.

Despite the swirling debate around Heap’s beliefs, or lack thereof, no one is denying his qualifications. Heap holds a master’s degree in divinity from Texas Christian University as well as a theological history degree from Oxford.
read more here

Actually, he's been trying since 2013.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Iraq Veteran Chaplain Betrayed by Catholic Church Because of PTSD?

Iraq Veteran Betrayed by Church Over PTSD?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 29, 2017

Most of my life has been dedicated to veterans and PTSD. For over 3 decades, every true expert on PTSD has said that spiritual healing is vital, especially when the person afflicted by it, came with their job.

It takes a very special person with a strong emotional core to not just do their jobs, but even think they should do them in the first place.

They are pulled to do them. Knowing all the hardships, as well as the risks, did not stop them from putting their lives on the line for someone else.

That is how much life mattered to them. Rev. Robert Repenning knows what that is like. He also served as an Army Chaplain in Iraq. He spoke about God's love and he showed the compassion of Christ as well as what courage is like on behalf of the Church. Too bad the Catholic Church did not notice faith was spread by people just like him when Jesus sent out the 12 others.

"As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give." Matthew 10:7-8

At least that is the way I thought it was supposed to be. How can the church, or any house of worship claim they care when they refuse to send someone who not only understands what our veterans are going through, but lives with it, walks the walk and still has the same connection to God?

Why is it they were so ready to turn their backs on this veteran when so many others should be welcomed into the healing power of God's love?

I am with Point Man International Ministries because they believe as I do. They go out and minister to those in need of healing, just as Christ said it should be done.

To think that this message has been sent out to all those who put their lives on the line for the sake of others, proving the greatest level of love their is, a betrayal of the mission they took an oath to fulfill.

The topper in all of this is, he is fighting to stay in the church and continue to minister to Catholics instead of walking away to go to another denomination that will not just welcome him, but value the help and hope he can offer so many veterans. 

Unassigned priest with PTSD finds 'peace amidst the storms'
Poughkeepsie Journal
Nina Schultzman
December 29, 2017
"The faith talks about mercy. The faith talks about compassion. The faith talks abut the sanctity of every human person. What is the Archdiocese saying by treating someone with a disability this way? They are not living up to the gospels." Rev. Robert Repenning
Meanwhile, "if I defend myself, they say I'm attacking the archdiocese," Repenning added.

For the past 18 months, the Rev. Robert Repenning has had no church to call home, no parish to serve.

"In a spiritual sense, it's devastating not to have an assignment," said Repenning, a longtime local Roman Catholic priest and former Army chaplain, who served in the Iraq War. "I want to be in a parish."

Repenning, 45, says the archdiocese has discriminated against him as a disabled veteran because of the alleged severity of his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

His contract at Holy Trinity in Poughkeepsie, which he led for a six-year term that ended on July 1, 2016, was not renewed.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan has told Repenning that he has a "grave lack of any self-awareness... that you may have deep problems," according to correspondence Repenning shared with the Journal.

It's a “moral obligation, and a fraternal desire” of Dolan's to ensure Repenning is healthy, and “to do this, we need a professional assessment best done in a residential setting," the cardinal wrote in a 2016 letter to Repenning.

Repenning has said he did not agree to seek treatment at an archdiocese-approved facility and that he's already been receiving medical care at the Castle Point branch of the Veterans Affairs Hudson Valley Health Care System.

Since his leave began, Repenning said he's had psychological and physical tests completed, and his doctors have no concerns.
read more here

Monday, December 25, 2017

Dayton VA Medical Center Christmas Eve Service

Veterans come together for Christmas Eve vigil

WDTN 2 News
Kristen Eskow
December 24, 2017

“You can be so far away from home and think that maybe you’re forgotten about,” said Wendell Rome, chief of chaplain service for the Dayton VA Medical Center.

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Veterans and their families gathered for an annual service Sunday night to honor veterans and those currently serving our country.
The Dayton VA Medical Center hosted its annual Christmas Eve vigil. As Christmas carols filled the lobby, it brought back memories for veterans like Marvin Schroeder.
“We were all brothers and sisters separated from our own families,” said Schroeder, who served in the Air Force during the Vietnam war.
Schroeder recalls those Christmases spent with his family of fellow soldiers.
“We made the celebration all together, and we really made the best of what we had,” he said.
“You can be so far away from home and think that maybe you’re forgotten about,” said Wendell Rome, chief of chaplain service for the Dayton VA Medical Center.
Chaplain Rome said he knows the feeling all too well. A veteran himself, he remembers spending Christmas in Iraq.
“It was just a difficult time, it was lonely away from home,” he said. “But yet we’re serving our country and so we just kind of band together and do the best that we can.”

Running Back to Faith with Iraq Veteran Chaplain

How I became Christian again: my long journey to find faith once more 
The Guardian 
Bryan Mealer 
December 25, 2017 

After experiencing the horrors of war, Bryan Mealer lost his faith. Morning runs with a priest – and a visit to a more welcoming church – helped restore it

Reclaiming the title is a moral protest against those who attack immigrants, refugees, minorities, and the poor and the sick, the very people whom Christ instructed us to help.’ Photograph: El Mundo Ilustrado/Rex/Shutterstock
"Our first Sunday, a man stood up and testified about being ostracized from his previous congregation because he was gay. All he’d wanted to do was worship, and the God who’d met him at Trinity did so with compassion and love, not judgment. I knew I’d found a home, one whose Christian values were suitable for my children."
A few mornings a week, I go running with a priest.
We meet at 5.30 under a streetlamp in central Austin and make our way down to the state capitol building and back, a distance of about eight miles. It’s a routine we started nearly two years ago, and it came during a pivotal point in my life.
I was 40 years old, the father of three small children, and beginning to wrestle with some of the bigger questions that loom at middle age, particularly about faith.
After growing up in the church and leaving for many years – even abandoning my beliefs at one point while covering war – I was contemplating a return. On a visit to my parents, my children had inadvertently exposed a void that I’d been trying to ignore. My three-year-old daughter asked my mother, “What is God?” only to have her brother reply: “Don’t you know, silly? God is Harvey.” 

Harvey is what we called our Honda. The look my mother shot me is still burned into my retinas.
David was a priest at an Episcopal church in south Austin and the author of two books. He was also a former marine and chaplain in the army who’d served in Iraq. read more here

Sunday, November 19, 2017

New Freedom Medal Award Celebrates Service After Service

New Freedom Medal Award winners feted at gala

Delaware County News Network
Leslie Krowchenko
November 18, 2017

Kinney, of Middletown, delayed his college education to enlist in the Marine Corps, serving in Vietnam in 1966-1967. Upon his return he joined the VFW, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans and has assisted in performing more than 1,000 military funerals. He was inducted into the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor in 2016.

Seated from left, Freedom Medal Award winners Sean Sweeney, Marty Costello, Jennifer Jones, Dr. Tina Kane, Jerry Sweeley and Bill Kinney Jr. are flanked by members of Delaware County Council and the Delaware County Veterans Memorial Association board.
SPRINGFIELD  Honoring America’s veterans should not be limited to the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
The Delaware County Veterans Memorial Association and Delaware County Council insure that respect is year-round.
More than 500 local residents joined Thursday night for the fourth annual Freedom Medal Award dinner. The event at Springfield Country Club provided an Olympic-style podium to congratulate dedication to country recipients Marty Costello, Jennifer Jones, Bill Kinney Jr., Jerry Sweeley and Sean Sweeney, Dr. Tina Kane (dedication to education), the Videon family (dedication to community) and Delaware County Councilman David White (president’s award).
“This is an opportunity to honor our heroes for their service and sacrifice,” said Army veteran and association board President Guy Fizzano. “It is also a chance to thank our donors, who support the memorial’s upkeep and its educational programs.”
This year’s honorees represent the best of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Costello, of Radnor, enlisted in the Navy in 1976 and served as an aircraft mechanic with Attack Squadron 82. He has dedicated numerous hours to local veterans’ organizations and their causes, including as commander of the Delaware County American Legion committee, and worked to rebuild and rededicate the war memorial in his home town.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

"Father Conway helped us pray," USS Indianapolis Survivors

Seeking Posthumous Navy Cross Award For Saving, Praying With Sailors At Sea
Hartford Courant
Bill Leukhardt
September 2, 2017
It's clear city native U.S. Navy Lt. Thomas Conway, the last American chaplain killed in World War II, is a hero.

In the three days he lived after torpedoes sunk the USS Indianapolis on July 30, 1945, survivors say he swam among terrified fellow sailors and marines encouraging all not to give up as they floated day after day without food, water or shade in shark-infested waters.
Conway died on Aug 2, 1945, three days before rescuers arrived. His body slipped out of his life jacket, lost in the sea as were the dog tags he had collected from dead shipmates.
Sharks killed many pitched into the water. The ship lost 879 of its crew of 1,196. Only 317 lived to be plucked from the Philippine Sea. Nineteen are still alive.

"Father Conway helped us pray," USS Indianapolis Survivors Association secretary Peggy Campo of Illinois recalls her late father, Don McCall, a survivor, said. "Hell yes, we prayed."
But the hero priest has never received a medal for his sacrifice.
read more here

Friday, April 28, 2017

Military Chaplain 100 Years of Serving

Military Chaplains Turn 100 Years Old as 'Attacks' on Service Rise
CBN News

"Chaplains serve as a constant reminder to our troops that God is present with them, especially in a combat environment." Douglas Carver

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War I. It's also the 100th anniversary of when U.S. military chaplains made their mark in the U.S. Armed Services, according to Douglas Carver, former U.S. Army chief of chaplains.
Less than 150 chaplains served in the Army and National Guard when America entered the war against Germany.

That number grew to more than 2,300 by the end of WWI in 1918, and Carver says that rise secured the role of chaplains in today's Armed Services.

He calls chaplaincy the "ministry of presence."

"Chaplains serve as a constant reminder to our troops that God is present with them, especially in a combat environment," Carver, the executive director of chaplaincy for the North American Mission Board, wrote to Baptist Press.
read more here

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Army Captain Chaplain Received Soldier's Medal

‘Warrior’ chaplain honored for taking down machete-wielding suicidal soldier 
Ledger Enquirer 
Chuck Williams 
March 14, 2017
“Here is where the truth comes in,” Christensen said. “Nothing but fear, and I believe the work of of the Holy Spirit, moved me into a position where I could physically control the soldier.”
The black cross patch on the right side of Capt. Matthew C. Christensen’s U.S. Army uniform tells a story.

It’s where Army meets religion.

Two years ago, during his previous assignment in Alaska, the chaplain was forced into a situation where he had to act quickly with the fight-or-die instincts of a soldier. It was another place where Army meets religion.

Christensen, a 43-year-old Montana native, defused a potential deadly situation by unarming a machete-wielding soldier during a suicide attempt that was on the verge of turning into multiple homicides. Tuesday morning at Fort Benning, Christensen, who served as a Lutheran pastor before becoming an active duty chaplain seven years ago, was awarded the Soldier’s Medal, the Army’s highest honor for valor in a non-combat situation.
read more here

Monday, December 26, 2016

Veteran Chaplain-Priest Removed For PTSD?

Where is Fr. Robert? Archdiocese owes an explanation 
Poughkeepsie Journal
Dennis Maloney December 26, 2016

Where is Father Robert Repenning? On July 1, the Archdiocese of New York removed Father Robert, pastor of Holy Trinity in Poughkeepsie, because they learned he suffered from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder as his reward for serving his country as Army chaplain. 

He, unlike most, served in active combat and is a decorated veteran.

He never hid his PTSD and sought treatment for it at the Veterans Affairs upon homecoming. Not good enough for the Archdiocese! 

They wanted him to go to St. John Vianny, where they send pedophiles to “evaluate” his PTSD by them. Don’t they trust the VA?

Five months after removing him for evaluation, they have not done it! Why?

It’s not important to them that he brought new life to a dying parish. It’s obvious they want to punish him for daring to become a Chaplain!
read more here

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Retired Marine Chaplain Walking From New York to Merritt Island

Marine Corps veteran to walk from New York City to Merritt Island
R. Norman Moody
September 9, 2016

"When I walk I can't stop walking. When people know that you walk they want to join you. I don't make excuses, I just walk. I trust God."
Rev. Danny Garcia begins his walk Sunday from New York City
(Photo: R. Norman Moody / FLORIDA TODAY)
Retired Marine Sgt. Danny Garcia started walking long-distance to heal from personal difficulties.

Many years later and thousands of miles of walking for causes in various countries around the world, he is beginning a new long distance trek: Many Steps for Many Vets 2016 Walk, from Sept. 11 to Nov. 11.

At age 71, the Melbourne resident is taking on a 1,450-mile trek beginning Sunday from near the site of the 9/11 memorial near Liberty and Greenwich streets in New York City, with the goal of reaching the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center on Veterans Day, Nov.11.

On that day, the center will hold its Veterans Day ceremony and the grand opening of its expanded museum and the adjacent 82-acre veterans park.

"This walk is not a game," he said. "This walk is not a marathon. Our country is bleeding right now. Yes, the walk is for our veterans, but it is also for our country."
read more here

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Archdiocese Abandoned Army Chaplain Because of PTSD?

Repenning did right by church, but still got ousted
Poughkeepsie Journal
Dennis Maloney
July 16, 2016

I believe they have adopted an anti-military/veteran bias. It is the only plausible rationale for why they want to punish Father Robert. He served as an Army chaplain, probably against their wishes. He must be punished! Cardinals Spellman, Cooke and O’Connor must be rolling over in their graves! Dennis Maloney
The Poughkeepsie Journal recently reported that the Archdiocese of New York was removing Father Robert Repenning, a pastor at Holy Trinity Church in Poughkeepsie, because of concern about his post-traumatic stress disorder. The facts do not bear this out.

Father Robert is a combat veteran Army Chaplain having served two deployments in Tikrit, Iraq. Captain Repenning is the most decorated chaplain in the archdiocese. His service to the country gave him what many combat veterans acquire, a mild case of PTSD.

Father never hid his PTSD. He sought treatment from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs upon leaving active service years ago. He has followed the treatment protocol religiously. In fact, he has exceeded his protocol by adopting a service dog.

When archdiocese officials informed Father Robert of their decision, they told him that he must go to Saint John Vianney Hospital in Philadelphia, surrender his guardianship to them and be incommunicado. However, if he had a better plan, they might accept it.

The concerned parishioners of Holy Trinity presented such a program, based on the best practices for treating PTSD. Staying at Holy Trinity was part of the plan. It was immediately rejected. He must go!

When we presented the facts that Saint John Vianney does not treat PTSD, that the archdiocesan plan was detrimental to his treatment, that his successes at Holy Trinity (nearly doubling the number of parishioners, doubling school enrollment, increased revenue, building a school playground, updating the entire physical plant, publishing five books) showed that his PTSD did not negatively impact his effectiveness, it didn’t matter! He must go.
read more here
Army Chaplain--Priest With PTSD Tossed by Church

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Army Chaplain--Priest With PTSD Tossed by Church?

Priest with PTSD serves last day — for now — at Holy Trinity
Poughkeepsie Journal
Nina Schutzman
July 1, 2016

Repenning has acknowledged that he has PTSD from his time serving overseas, but said it does not interfere with his work in the church.
              Father Robert Repenning, a pastor at Church of the Holy Trinity in Poughkeepsie, gives                                    ashes to Jacob Morrison of LaGrange at a 12:30 p.m. mass on Ash Wednesday.                                         (Photo: Alex H. Wagner/Poughkeepsie Journal)

A Dutchess County priest, who said his job was threatened because of his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, served his last day — for now — at the Holy Trinity Church in Poughkeepsie. 

The Rev. Robert Repenning, who served as an Army chaplain in the Iraq War, has said his five-year position at the Catholic parish was threatened by the Archdiocese of New York over the alleged severity of his PTSD, according to Journal archives.

On Wednesday, the archdiocese sent a letter to Repenning's parishioners, many of whom have been fighting for him to stay.
read more here

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Military Chaplains Find Help in Silver Spring

Helping the helper: Institute aids military chaplains suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder
Christianity Today
Andre Mitchell
June 7, 2016

"I thought I had a handle on suffering. I thought I had a handle on understanding the sovereignty of God. I didn't know crap," Williams shared in a report by The Washington Post.
Members of the U.S. Army Chaplains Corps take a moment of silence to pray for their fellow brothers in arms in harm's way.
For soldiers coming home from conflict areas, the military chaplain is the person who is there to listen to all their troubles and help them cope with the trauma they are experiencing.

But after absorbing the woes of soldiers, ministering to them, and seeing the battlefield scene themselves, some of these chaplains also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and need assistance themselves.

The St. Luke's Institute, a Roman Catholic Center based in Silver Spring in Maryland, has made it part of its mission to help these military chaplains.

One such chaplain is Pastor Matthew Williams, who has already been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Williams said he initially thought that he could take in everything he saw in the battlefield—from corpses in body bags to his "friends' faces all blown apart"—until he realised he could not take it anymore.
read more here

Monday, May 30, 2016

Military Chaplain Shaken by War

Over the years as a Chaplain trained to work with responders instead of those they help, I can tell you that it is a struggle for many of us to reach the point where we ask for help when we need it.

You would think that would be so easy since we know so many others doing the work we do. We usually have an Army behind us to turn to when it gets to be too much yet those I turn to know I am either burnt out or in crisis myself if I call them. It took a long time for me to be able to do that. After all, I am the caretaker of others.

What example would I portray to them if they saw me falling apart? That is what it took years to understand. It tells them I am just as human as they are. Since there is nothing wrong with them needing help from me, there is nothing wrong with me needing help from others.

I am unbroken now after being shattered many times. The thing is, there is no limit to the amount of healing or the number of times it is required. I have built up scars and each one reminds me of how hard it has been before but I got through it because I had help to recover from all of it.

My scars are not from combat but fighting the good fight for those who did what few others have dared to do.

Here is a great article on what Military Chaplains can go through.
What happens when the military chaplain is shaken by war
The Washington Post
Michelle Boorstein
May 29, 2016
“The chaplain is supposed to be the one that is unbroken,” Pantlitz said. “When soldiers see a chaplain is broken, they feel it’s okay for them to be broken, too. Other soldiers — okay. But a man or woman of God is not supposed to be broken.”
The pre-war Pastor Matthew Williams had gone to seminary, was ordained and thought he understood why people suffer. “God allows suffering because this world is temporary,” is how he would have put it.

Then came two deployments as an Army chaplain, one to Afghanistan and one to Iraq. Williams spent a year in an Afghanistan morgue unzipping body bags and “seeing your friends’ faces all blown apart.” He watched as most of the marriages he officiated for fellow soldiers fell apart. He felt the terror of being the only soldier who wasn’t armed when the mortars dropped and bullets flew.

This Memorial Day weekend, Williams is no longer an active-duty military chaplain nor a United Church of Christ minister. He is a guitar player on disability whose outlook on God, religion and suffering was transformed by post-traumatic stress.

The 5,000 active-duty men and women often called “Chaps” are the ones soldiers seek at all hours, under strict confidentiality, to share their darkest acts, doubts and fears — even the suicidal thoughts that could end their military careers. And yet chaplains experience post-traumatic stress, too, while carrying out their unique mission to shore up others.
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