[act-ma] 4/29 Ministering to Veterans, Worcester

Loie Hayes loiehayes at verizon.net
Thu Apr 2 18:36:01 PDT 2009

            April 29, 2009
             9:30 a.m.--4 p.m.

            Discover ways you can help support veterans and their families
as they traverse the hostile landscape of healing the spiritual wounds of

            For clergy, social workers, congregation members and families

            What do veterans need from clergy and churches?  Hear directly
from the veterans and families themselves.  This workshop will provide
resources and insight invaluable to those ministering to veterans and their

            Richard Perlstein-retired VA psychiatrist and expert in war
            Kevin Lucey- father of Jeff Lucey who took his own life after
returning from service in Iraq with severe PTSD.
            Cayenne Isaksen from MASSAVE: an organization committed to
preventing veteran suicide and mental health distress.
            Karen Greenwood--Veteran's Agent in Worcester
            Portraits by  Matt Mitchell, photographer and creator of 100
faces of war.

            Cost:     $25/person, which includes lunch.

            Deadline for registration is Monday, April 26th.

            To register, call 508-637-1215, email
Brookfield.institute at gmail.com, or register on-line at Spiritual Journey

            Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and seeing his
life shattered by his tour of duty in Afghanistan, a veteran had turned to
alcohol, left his wife and two children, and considered killing himself.  He
attended worship to find some spiritual help, but no one even greeted him.
Later, after he had received help elsewhere, he shared his story with the
pastor of the church.  "It was like getting a gut punch; it was
eye-opening," said a pastor of 22 years   "We felt very ill-equipped to know
how to reach out to veterans" he said.

             "If you walk into an average church . . . these nice people
sitting in the pews have no idea of what it's like, and this sweet pastor up
there will never be able to connect with us," one veteran observed, "But if
you make the clergy sensitive to and aware of the dynamics that apply to
soldiers...you can have clergy who understand."
            Boston Globe article, April 22, 2008

            Coordinated by the Veterans Education Project and The Brookfield

      The Spiritual Journey Home From War:
                  Ministering to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans
                  and their Families
                  A workshop for clergy, caregivers and families of
returning veterans
                  Wednesday, April 29, 9:30 a.m.--4 p.m.

                  Veteran mental health expert, Richard Perlstein, a retired
VA psychiatrist specializing in war trauma and well- known spokesman Kevin
Lucey, whose son Iraqi veteran Jeff Lucey took his own life while suffering
from post traumatic stress (PTSD), are two of the speakers at the workshop
Spiritual Journey Home from War: Ministering to Iraq and Afghanistan
Veterans and Their Families at the United Congregational Church, Worcester
on Wednesday, April 29, 9-4 p.m.

                  Though the subject has received much media publicity,
veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan still face many hurdles as they
re-integrate into civilian life.  Of the 1.6 million service members
deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, about 1 in 6 is at risk of developing some
form of post-traumatic stress.*   Even those without obvious symptoms of
PTSD often have difficulty resuming the life they left behind.  In addition,
families suffer from the persistent pressure and ever-present anxiety of
having a loved one deployed.

                  Addressing the spiritual wounds of war is rarely offered
in the array of assistance provided for veterans and their families.**
"Often congregations, pastors and veterans must work through their
ambivalence about war and about caring for veterans before they are able to
effectively minister," observes Susan Leary of the Veterans Education
Project.  She continues, "For some veterans, a church or synagogue is still
a difficult place to enter.  Both clergy and members of congregations carry
wounds from the country's divided response to the Vietnam war and its
veterans. These workshops offer a place for listening and healing for
everyone.  At a recent workshop in western MA, a Vietnam vet in attendance,
witnessing the rapt listening to a fellow Vietnam vet, broke into tears
saying this was the first time in 30 years he had ever felt 'welcomed

                  In addition to Dr. Perlstein and Mr. Lucey, a panel of
knowledgeable and experienced speakers will provide resources.  Cayenne
Isaksen, will represent MASSAVE: an organization formed to prevent veteran
suicide and mental health distress. Veteran's agent Karen Greenwood will
share some of the resources available to veterans through each town's
agents. Attendees will have a chance to view  Matt Mitchell's photographs,
creator of the project 100 faces of war, a montage of portraits and stories
of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Participants will receive handouts and
brochures of available agencies and literature and will be able to learn
specific ways to offer concrete support to veterans and their families.  The
cost is $25 per person, which includes lunch.  You may register online at
Spiritual Journey Home, call 508-637-1215,  or email
Brookfield.institute at gmail.com

                  This event is co-sponsored by  The Veteran's Education
Project and The Brookfield Institute. Deadline for registration is Monday,
April 26th.

                  *Barry Walsh, "When Mommy Comes Marching Home Again."
Bostonia, Fall 2008
                  **In order to provide needed spiritual support for
veterans, some preliminary discussion is necessary to lay the ground work.

                 Contact Information

                  P.O. Box 388
                  8 West Main Street
                  Brookfield, MA  01506
                  www.brookfieldinstitute.org ·
Brookfield.Institute at gmail.com

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