Dear EVF Friends,
Yesterday, Sunday, I met up with some veterans I hadn’t seen in about 10 years. They were having their first-ever reunion in Austin. What a blessed time. We shared stories of war and homecoming. We talked about our ups and our downs, our struggles and our victories. It was holy ground. I hope you are working toward reunions, no matter how small. Each connection matters and I confess that some of my shame issues have held me back from connecting with veterans I served with in Iraq and elsewhere. Reach out today. We are more alike than we are different. The fact that the shooters of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge were veterans should not be lost on we who care so much for veterans.
So what can you do?
Attend EVF at St. Davids or at our other locations.
Or join us in the Fall: We are gearing up for a Huge Fall!
It all kicks off with a drum circle on August 30th led by USMC veteran and Hospitaller Jim Cochrun. Warriors, especially native American warriors, have reconnected to themselves and God through drum circles and I hope you can be part of this amazing event. (Location: Stay tuned!)
At our EVF St. David’s meeting on Tuesday September 13, we will begin a 5 week art/writing workshop with artist Elizabeth Decker. Elizabeth’s workshops are going to be intense, interesting, and engaging. She has agreed to partner with us to guide us into a deeper knowledge of ourselves and our military experience. If you know someone who could benefit from this, please bring them on these Tuesday nights. The sessions will happen at our normal time (1850-2000) and will culminate in each participant presenting their work at our Veterans Conference on November 4th. To read more about Elizabeth Decker, click here. If you would like to contribute financially to enable veterans to attend these art therapy sessions, please send a check to:
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
2128 Barton Hills Drive
Austin, TX 78704
Central Texas Veterans Conference:
Art, Dialogue, and Spirituality
November 4, 2016
Seminary of the Southwest
The 2nd Annual Central Texas Veterans Conference for Veterans and Veteran Caregivers is a one-day event that will include an educational lecture defining moral injury in veterans, as well as a community-focused discussion on how we can cooperate and collaborate to bring healing and hope.
This conference will equip counselors, medical professionals, clergy, veterans advocates, and interested parties to understand the causes of moral injury and ways to address it.
If you would like more information about participating in this event, please contact David Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to volunteer, please email EVF Administrator DeSha Tolar-Thomas at email@example.com.
On November 11, Veterans Day, we will have a float in the parade. We have a shiny blue pickup truck to pull the Tiny Chapel and we need other creative ideas for ways to engage veterans along the route, before, and after. If you have parade experience, please contact me! It’s a Friday, so tell your boss today you have to be with your veterans on this day. Click here for more info.
On November 13, I’ll be preaching and teaching at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Houston. I hope all our Houston folks can attend that day and we can start to form communities of veterans in this area.
Spiritual direction is available to veterans as part of our mission. If you don’t know what it is, you probably need it. Contact me for an appointment and get started on this pilgrimage of life and faith.
If you are seeking counseling for PTSD, a therapist who specializes in EMDR has let me know she would be willing to offer this amazing therapy to a veteran in need. Please contact me for more info.
There’s lots of great books about veterans issues out there right now. Few, if any, deal with how the Church can help. Here’s my contribution to the discussion: Post-Traumatic God. Please consider pre-ordering and writing a short amazon review when it comes out. I would be very thankful. The same goes for my earlier book, Death Letter: God, Sex, and War. I’d appreciate your consideration of writing a short review to help these books move into out into the world so veterans and those who care for them can read them.
We’re recruiting: If you are interested in joining a community of veterans who care about Prayer, Hospitality, and Reconciliation please consider joining the Hospitallers of St. Martin or at least buying one of our t-shirts.