EVF Mission Brief (Moral Injury Healing Service Tuesday in RR and next Wed in Austin)

Dear EVF Friends,
I just got back from my orientation with the Episcopal Church Foundation, who will be funding my travel around the country to share the EVF story and invite more veterans to join our movement. If you would like me to come to your diocese or parish, send me an email. I’ll be emailing out a request for scheduling Monday (d.v.).

We will hold a groundbreaking Moral Injury Healing Service on Tuesday at St. Richard’s in Round Rock, 7pm. Please join us there. We will be honored to have a journalist there from Duke Divinity School’s Journal who is doing a story on Reconciliation for Veterans. Bring a veteran friend and come along for this time of healing and hope.

Next week, 9 August, we will have a Moral Injury Healing Service at St. Mark’s, Wednesday, 7pm. Caleb Sparks and his band will be there to provide music. I’m really looking forward to hearing them. This band played together in a chapel in Iraq, so its pretty special.

Save the date: Sep 22 is our Veterans Conference at SSW. Register here.

Pax,

David+

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EVF Mission Brief (Priest Pint in Salado!)

Dear EVF Friends,

I’ll be speaking in Salado on July 20th about Friendship in War. Click here for more info: Priest Pint topic “Near Beer in Baghdad: What Bad Beer Taught me about Good Relationships.”


So far I have 2 sponsors for our graduating seniors who would like a veteran mentor as they head off to Basic Training in the Military. Email me if you’re interested in serving this way. 


Many of you enjoyed the Tiny Chapel ministry. If you know of an upcoming place for the Tiny Chapel, let me know and we’ll see if we can pull it there. This is a fun ministry for all involved.


Our next Healing Service for Moral Injury will happen at St. Mark’s, Austin on August 9th. Begin to pray now about who you will bring to this.

Thank you for all you do for veterans in our community!

Pax,

David+

(It’s not a plus sign, it’s a Cross, indicating I’m giving you a Blessing! So peace and love be with you.)

 

www.episcopalveteransfellowship.org

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EVF Mission Brief: Big Announcement and Healing Service

Dear EVF Friends,

It’s taken me forever to get this email out because I’ve been scurrying around with some amazing people, planning things as well as waiting on a Big Announcement. I was hoping to by Memorial Day, but not everything had fallen into place, yet. I suppose it never does fully. I pray you had a blessed day remembering the fallen and celebrating life.

First up is the announcement that I’ve been chosen as one of this year’s ECF Fellows. The grant I’ll be getting will fund me to travel around the USA equipping churches for veterans ministry. This is going to expand the reach of EVF and bring you and me into a wider fellowship of fellow Christian veterans. So, if your parish or diocese wants me to come, let me know. I’ll be putting the Master Plan together in July-August. Truly, it is each of you who have mentored me in this journey. I hope I represent you well in this capacity.

Secondly, our first ever Healing Service for Veterans with Moral Injury is happening next Wednesday at St. Mark’s. Let me know by email or Facebook if you’re coming. I’d love to involve you in this ministry. We will have music, prayers for healing, reconciliation, and holy communion.

Thirdly, this year’s Moral Injury in Veterans Conference will happen on22 September in Austin. Mark your calendars for this amazing day!

Fourthly, this year’s Veterans Retreat in Brenham, TX will take place on 1-2 December. Bishop Magness, Vietnam Combat Veteran and former Bishop of the Armed Services will be with us. A new group of Hospitallers will take vows and a good time of healing and fellowship will be had by all.

Fifthly, as you know, a number our Episcopal Diocese of Texas teens join the military every year. We would like to match each one of these new recruits up with an “old” veteran to encourage them in their service and Faith. If you would like to be one such mentor, please email me back with your interest. The Rev. Beth Magill will be working with us on how to coordinate this, but your enthusiasm and volunteering will be appreciated!
Pax,

David+

www.episcopalveteransfellowship.org

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EVF Mission Brief

Dear EVF Friends,

All they wanted was the black knit watch cap, 1 ea. That was all they wanted from me before I could officially sign out of the United States Marine Corps. I had lost it several months before in some winter outdoor training and the thought hit me that after six years of the USMC, my freedom depended on that missing black hat. In a few days I’ll be attending what will hopefully be my last Reserve duty at Ft. Jackson, SC. Hopefully, I’ll have the watch cap this time and everything else I need to finish my time. Its been a good 20 years, all told, and I’m looking forward to finally being 100% veteran. There are so many people along the way I’m thankful for. The relationships I forged there are so meaningful to me and I hope I can see most of them again. As I face this next step, I’m scared of the loneliness and the loss of identity. As much as I’ve complained about the military over the years, it gave me something I can’t quite explain. Maybe you know what I’m talking about. That’s why we formed this group, to be there for each other. To still experience the Best of our military service (people) without the Worst of it (early mornings, hurry up and wait, and shaving every day). Thank you for being on this journey with me.

The last couple months have seen an expansion of our ministry presence. To reach out to all these diocese, parishes, and veterans has cost us time and money. We continue to do it with hopes that we are shooting out a signal flare that veterans will see. Some of them will rally to the flare and join us in this pilgrimage home from war. I’m especially thankful for our supporters. This week a dear couple, Ann and Roger Seyler, handed me an envelope. In it was a substantial gift. Every year during Lent they set a place at their table and “have someone over for dinner.” This year it was an invisible veteran. They took the money they would have spent on the meal and gave it to EVF! We will use this money to get our message out to bishops, diocese, parishes, and veterans.

On June 7th we will start our first monthly Moral Injury Healing Service for Veterans. 7pm at St. Mark’s in Austin. We will have experiential music, healing, and holy communion. Please consider joining us for this adventure in following the Holy Spirit in this ministry of healing.

Pax,

David+

(It’s not a plus sign, it’s a Cross, indicating I’m giving you a Blessing! So peace and love be with you.)

www.episcopalveteransfellowship.org

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EVF Mission Brief: Holy Week

Dear EVF Friends,

I wish you a blessed Holy Week. The story of Jesus’ final week, crucifixion, and resurrection is a post-traumatic reflection on the violent death of Jesus by the people who loved him most. It’s hard to lose someone, to watch them die, to see the sky go dark and all the goodness of the world with it. Even after the resurrection, the trauma lingered and colors nearly every page of the four gospels. What do we do with trauma? We do what those first four evangelists did. We tell that story and find where Jesus is in that story. Like those four evangelists, we hope for resurrection and bear witness to a story that is as hard to believe in 2017 as it was in 33 AD. This is why I wrote Post-Traumatic God–to remind the Church of how Trauma influences the foundations of our faith.


This week I’ve been on the phone with folks from several dioceses around the country talking about how their parishes can address the topic of Moral Injury. It’s so exciting to see the word getting out. Starting the Episcopal Veterans Fellowship in your diocese and parish is simple. Contact me for more info.


Here’s a way to tell your story: Elizabeth Decker is leading a fantastic retreat. You know her from the Create Your Story workshops she led in Georgetown in Austin this year. Check out the attached flyer if you want to continue to explore your story through art. Sign up before April 21st for a reduced rate.


If you’re interested in attending a Round Rock Express Game on May 7th FOR FREE contact Jim Cochrun. Thanks so much to Jim and Chris for making this happen!


This week we received good news from Bishop Doyle about our Christian Community for Veterans, the Hospitallers of St. Martin. We are moving ahead with the process for canonical recognition. To that end, I’m putting a Tactical Retreat on the Calendar so we can work on the Constitution together. Putting anything on the calendar is difficult, so I’ll workshop some dates and we will proceed.

In the Peace of Jesus,

David+

www.episcopalveteransfellowship.org

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EVF Mission Brief: Join EVF at The POSSE EAST for a Rock Show on Sunday Apr. 2, 3-6pm

Dear EVF Friends,

Road Trip! Retired Army Chaplain Matthew Williams is touring with his band and they are coming to Austin on April 2, 3-6pm at the Posse East! The Posse East is a relaxed pub right next to UT and Seminary of the Southwest. I served with Matt at Walter Reed and knew he was an impressive musician then. Since those days Matt has written some rockin’ music that is dark, realistic, yet full of Hope. If you haven’t made it to an EVF event in a while or ever, come to this. Bring family and friends as this will be a very fun afternoon–even with some of the songs addressing some pretty heavy themes. Check out Matt’s work here.
Click here for more info about the concert.


We are still in the planning phase for this year’s retreat. If you’re interested in attending, please drop me an email to that effect. I’m gauging the interest right now. Last year’s was Fantastic!


Speaking of retreats, This year’s annual Recovery Retreat is coming up in April. I’ve attached the flyer. This is an amazing event with lots of veterans present. So much of our work with EVF involves our struggles with alcohol, drugs, and addiction. You know I’ve struggled with alcohol since Iraq and I have found lots of help and support from some of the people who will be at this retreat. Don’t struggle alone. Call me or attend this retreat. Pop the smoke to alert those of us who care to what you’re going through. We are all in this together.


Next week I’ll be meeting with the Community First Village leadership to talk about how we can partner with them in caring for their veterans.

Pax,

David+

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EVF Mission Brief

Dear EVF Friends,
Last weekend I was invited to present the work of EVF in Northern Virginia. We had a great turnout, and so many expressed interest in forming EVF groups in their own parishes. We have always trusted the leading of the Holy Spirit, and this weekend was proof that God is working. If you are interested in continuing to form an EVF group in NOVA, please let me know by replying to this email so we can begin to organize.


For up to date info on Meetings, click here.


If you’re in Central Texas, please join me at St. David’s in Austin at 1845, Tuesday, 14 March, for our first Spring meeting. We will be checking in, sharing some water, snacks, and prayers with our homeless neighbors, and, as always, praying Compline together.


Casting Call: At this March 14th meeting we will host a film crew to film our group in Action. The Diocese of Texas is making a video about Missional Communities, and we will be in it! This is a way for our small group of veterans to get our message out to a larger number of people.


I’d like each group to think about naming themselves. I was thinking each group could be named for an Episcopal Veteran. For instance, if your parish had a deceased member who was a veteran and loved God and his/her neighbor, they would be a good candidate to honor this way. Let me know what you think.


EVF will partner with the Posse East to host Matt Williams and his Retired Army Chaplain band on April 2nd. It’s a Sunday afternoon, so come out and hear some rocking music about love, war, and spirituality. Matt is an amazing musician and chaplain. I’m so looking forward to this.


If you would like a T Shirt, please check out our website here.


I’m working on planning a Tactical Retreat this summer. We had a great time last year. Please email me if you are interested in attending. I’ll be looking at the calendar for a good weekend.


Thank you for all you do for veterans and the Church. I am reminded every day of your faithfulness and love.

Pax,

David+

www.episcopalveteransfellowship.org

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A Holy Lent for Veterans

Dear EVF Friends,
On Thursday I will be heading off to Virginia Theological Seminary and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Burke, VA to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and further the cause of the Episcopal Veterans Fellowship. It is amazing to see what has happened in the last three years with EVF. I have been blessed by your stories, your reflections, and your dreams for more healing and hope in our community. Please pray for me as I share Your work with others who have not yet heard about us. This past Sunday I was at St. Julian’s of Norwich in Austin to share our story, too. If your parish would like to have me come and talk about our work, please contact me. There are also other veterans in our network who are able to travel and share our story.

Today, Army veteran and journalist Kristine Shevory and I presented a veterans writing workshop proposal to The University of Texas System Veterans Affairs Winter Symposium. This is a meeting of all the veterans personnel from all of the UT campuses in their system. I’m excited about the possibilities for emerging narratives and healing. We had such a good response from the leadership and I can’t wait to see the results of this work. I was especially hopeful because these groups will be for Everyone: students, faculty, staff. The steam plant worker and the English professor–all veterans and learning to share their experience.

If you’re building your Ash Wednesday Playlist, click here for a song I wrote about a veteran with Moral Injury for Ash Wednesday. Feel free to use it and if anyone wants to cover it, please do!

Click here for an article about veterans suffering during Lent. Check it out and share it on Social Media. I’m thankful for the Living Church promoting our work. Help the article move along by emailing it and sharing.

Click here for a fantastic video about the veteran’s ministry in West Texas.

Check out the EVF Facebook page for more information about Everything. “Like” us for continued updates.

Our next meeting in Austin is 14 March. Other meetings are happening here.

David+

(It’s not a plus sign, it’s a Cross, indicating I’m giving you a Blessing! So peace and love be with you.)

www.episcopalveteransfellowship.org

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EVF Mission Brief

Dear EVF Friends,

We had a fantastic time at the 168th Council of the Diocese of Texas.

Lynn, Bob, and I personed the booth and had so many amazing conversations. We heard stories of war and homecoming, love and loss, joy and sorrow. It was so good to be there representing all you have done to build this community. Susan and Karen will have a booth at the Diocese of West Texas’ council. If you would like booth materials (flag, banner, brochures) for an event please let me know.

Our next meeting in Austin is on 14 March 1845 at St. Davids. We’ll be going out to share water, snacks, and prayer with our homeless neighbors. It’s always an adventure so please come out. Bring a gallon of water in your pack and some snacks to share. I’m working on ordering some lip balm from Thistle Farms. They do great healing work and I am learning from their ministry.

Stay tuned for other meetings and time changes. Due to Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, there may be some adjustments.

Please pray for me as I meet with all the veterans representatives from the UT University System on March 28th. General Cucolo (Ret) is working with us on starting veteran writing groups at each of their system universities. Many of you have been part of these groups and have found them to be beneficial.

Immediately following Ash Wednesday, I’ll be heading to Virginia Theological Seminary for a book signing and then I’ll be preaching at St. Andrews in Burke, VA and signing more books. I wrote this book to equip churches for veterans ministry. If you’ve read Post-Traumatic God, would you consider dropping a short review on Amazon? Click here. It will help the book move into the world.

Pax,

David+

(It’s not a plus sign, it’s a Cross, indicating I’m giving you a Blessing! So peace and love be with you.)

www.episcopalveteransfellowship.org

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EVF Mission Brief (Meetings all over and in Austin)

Dear EVF Friends,

All are welcome to join us on Tuesday evening at 1845 at St. David’s as we conduct a “Cape Patrol” in Downtown Austin. Just as St. Martin, the patron of veterans, cut his cape in half to warm a cold homeless person, so we will be handing out cups of water and snacks, as well as offer prayers for our homeless neighbors. We did this two weeks ago and it was a great experience for all involved. Bring snacks and a gallon or two of water. A backpack. Wear your EVF t-shirt or let me know if you don’t have one yet so I can bring one for you.

Thanks to all who came out to our Four Chaplains Commemoration last Wednesday. It was great to see you all and to share in their story.

Please pray for me as I share the mission of the EVF with the Diocese of Texas Diocesan Council in Galveston. So many folks don’t know about us, so this is a way to bring more veterans and parishes into our community. We have an awesome banner. I’ll post a pic of our booth after Lynn and I set it up.

If you’re in the Galveston area, stop by the booth!

Lots of other meetings going on around the area. We give thanks for the Georgetown/Round Rock group that finished up a four week Art Workshop with Elizabeth Decker! I can’t wait to see their work displayed.

Pax,

David+

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