We are delighted and honored to be part of “Hope for Our Veterans,” a three-part series organized by Crossroads Cultural Center
Under Fire: A Candid Look at the Military Chaplaincy
April 24th at 7:30 pm at The Catholic University of America
(McGivney Hall, Keane Auditorium)
The event is free and open to the public — join us and spread the word!
Crossroads Cultural Center in Washington, DC, is hosting a three-part event that explores “Hope for Our Veterans.” The first (on March 21st) focused on the difficulties facing too many of our veterans upon their return and it featured Nancy Albin, co-founder of a valuable resource and source of hope: the Los Angeles Habilitation House, which helps returning veterans suffering from PTSD tackle the sometimes seemingly unsurmountable challenges to reentering the workforce.
The second event will take place April 24th and will explore the role of military chaplains with excerpts from “Chaplains Under Fire” and a discussion with Chaplain Ken Bolin (who was an infantryman before he became a chaplain) as well as documentary’s editor, Andrea Hull, and director Lee Lawrence. The evening will be moderated by Suzanne Tanzi, managing editor of Traces magazine.
Part three of the series, “The Arts and Military Healing,” will be presented by Smithsonian curator Jane Milosch on Veteran’s Day. We’ll keep you posted about the time and location.
Although the Humanity Explored film festival is over, there still seems to be a live link through another site: http://learni.st/learnings/86739-chaplains-under-fire
So if you want to stream the doc, you’ve got another chance (and, of course, there is always the DVD you can buy).
Probably not entirely, but they might help prepare chaplains for the challenges that lie ahead, according to an article by Mark Pinsky of the Religion News Service. He writes:
The animated figure on the computer screen moves carefully among the wounded, darting from one fallen figure to another. Trailing the combat medics, the uniformed military chaplain kneels and performs “spiritual triage,” assessing who is dead, who is soon to die, and who is likely to survive.
For the dead, there is silent prayer; for the gravely wounded and those in pain, there are words of comfort. Checking dog tags to determine the faith of the fallen, the pastor uses language consistent with each faith tradition. At each point in the action, a prompt asks users what they think is the appropriate response, and then offers them feedback on their choices.
It is clear from the article that any such computer program is an adjunct to not a substitution for the mentoring and training only another human can provide.
“We shouldn’t confuse simulation trainers as replacements for chaplains or care providers,” [Chaplain Jeff Zust, an Army lieutenant colonel and an EMT] said. “Trauma care and counseling need to be provided in person. There is no substitute for human contact in training.”
Navy Chaplain Josh Sherwin, 31, a rabbi who has deployed three times to Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, agrees.
“There is no way a classroom environment can prepare you,” he said. “But a simulation that puts you through realistic situations can be highly valuable.”
The article then concludes with information about another valuable tool — it is one you will recognize:
A 2010 documentary, “Chaplains Under Fire,” examines the roles of military clergy in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the complexities inherent in their service. The film shows chaplains visiting with soldiers in forward operating bases, watching over them in field hospitals, and meeting their flag-draped coffins when they are returned to the United States.
“It’s exhilarating to be in combat,” says Chaplain Bennett Sandford in the film, after escaping an improvised explosive attack unscathed. But before long, after praying over a slain Marine, the Baptist minister says, “the exhilaration went away.”
We never set out to make a training tool for the military. But we cannot think of a higher honor than to see our work being used to shape the chaplains of tomorrow.
Humanity Explored Film Festival is up and running, and you can watch Chaplains Under Fire on-line as well as a number of other great documentaries and feature films. And, please, give the festival your feedback and spread the word. Thanks.
For all of you who ask us where you can watch “Chaplains Under Fire”– well, we are proud to announce that the documentary will be part of the next Humanity Explored film festival whose organizers, Culture Unplugged, make it easy for everyone to attend: it is on-line, free, and runs for a year. The 2013 festival will launch later this month and, in the meantime, you can still check out the 2012 films.
When Kay Campbell covered the anniversary of the military chaplaincy, she handed the senior chaplain a copy of the documentary — which he immediately included in his collection of chaplaincy memorabilia, adding a note of ecumenism since our documentary features chaplains from various denominations and faiths.
Kay Campbell is an award-winning writer for the Huntsville Times. She reviewed Chaplains Under Fire last year.
With all the shouting back and forth over the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell and its possible effects on the religious liberty of military chaplains, it is refreshing to come across an article that reports from all sides of the issue. Published by the Associated Press, “As Gays Serve Openly, Few Problems for Chaplains” concludes that, while the dust as not yet settled, chaplains are figuring out ways to stay true to their individual faiths while supporting the troops in their care — just as they have done before on a number of other issues. Some chaplains belong to denominations that disallow women from holding positions of authority, yet find a way of serving both alongside and sometimes under a female officer. Others believe that abortion is murder and preach that from the pulpit while also finding loving ways to counsel troops who do not share this belief. Will there be glitches at times? Sure. Will the chaplains come up with an effective workaround? We sure hope so.
If there are any problems with the site, please let us know…
Chaplains Under Fire home page
Jaye White runs a program for the United Methodist Church geared to encouraging congregations to reach out to military families. As part of this outreach program, she showed Chaplains Under Fire at the Haymount United Methodist Church in Fayetteville, NC. Here is what she reports:
We had about 35 people show up for CUF at our screening in February. There were two active duty chaplains in attendance and three retired chaplains. All of the response was positive. One woman was upset that anyone would take issue with having chaplains in the service. One of the retired chaplains pointed out that chaplains are to assure that everyone has religious freedom. Obviously there have been problems at times, but this documentary addresses the issues fairly.
We are showing the film this Thursday, March 8 at Southern Pines United Methodist Church in Southern Pines, NC at 6:30 pm. FREE Everyone welcome!
Pass the word along to anyone you know in the Southern Pines area — thanks!
Back to Chaplains Under Fire homepage
President Obama today declared November as Military Family Month and National Family Caregivers Month — which is exactly what programs like Maryland’s National Guard “Partners in Care” do. Initiated by chaplains, it establishes a “memorandum of understanding” between faith communities and the Maryland National Guard which spells out, essentially, that the Maryland National Guard will support the congregations with training and other services while the congregations will provide assistance and support to National Guard members and their families regardless of religious affiliation.
People who work with wounded veterans and know the program applaud it. There is an effort to take the program nationwide and broaden it from the National Guard to the veteran community at large.
Here is a Religion & Ethics Newsweekly feature on Partners in Care:
If you know of other programs out there that can serve as models, get the word out during Military Family and National Family Caregivers Month — and, most of all, let’s all let our local leaders know about models we’d like to see reproduced in our communities.