Embracing Our Veterans: Helping Congregations and Spiritual Communities Respond to Their Needs

Embracing Our Veterans: Helping Congregations and Spiritual Communities Respond to Their Needs
Cosponsored by The Interfaith Center at the Presidio and the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County

April 9th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at Mount Diablo UU Church.

April 9th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at Mount Diablo UU Church.

Tuesday, April 9th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Mt. Diablo UU Church
55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek.
Cost $20, veterans free, sliding scale, scholarships available.

Downloadable flyer here.

This half-day conference will focus on helping clergy, spiritual leaders and members of congregations and spiritual communities in Contra Costa understand the spiritual needs of veterans as thousands these men and women return from the zones of war. Wounds to the spirit are difficult to express, and difficult to recognize. Veterans also come home with wisdom and skills which may not be easily applied in civilian life. At the same time, most people have not served in the military, or experienced the trauma of war firsthand, yet feel the effects of war in other ways. These different sets of experiences and perspectives of war can act as barriers between veterans and their civilian and spiritual communities. A sense of separation and isolation for veterans can impede their ability to heal and move forward with their lives. Spiritual communities may feel unable to reach out to veterans due to the lack of understanding of the issues veterans face as they return home.

The keynote speaker is Rev. Charlotte Bear, Regional Trainer and Educator for VITAS Innovative Hospice Care for veterans. She is a veteran, an ordained interfaith minister, a television journalist, and currently works with veterans in many capacities. Along with Rev. Bear there will be panelists and workshop facilitators who have a great deal of experience with veterans in many contexts. Topics will include civilians engaging veterans in spiritual conversations, understanding PTSD and spiritual wounds of war, helping veterans share their gifts, and rituals and ceremonies for veterans. There will also be networking opportunities and resources made available. The goal of the conference is to assist congregations and spiritual communities to become healing, welcoming, and empowering places for veterans on a long term basis. Individuals are welcome, though we encourage small groups of 3 or 4 members from each community to attend together in order to develop ongoing efforts to serve veterans in their midst.

This conference is specifically for people in congregations and spiritual communities in Contra Costa. If you are interested in the conference, but are not a resident or a part of a community in the area, please contact the Interfaith Center at the Presidio. We will be offering other conferences in different areas in the future. Awareness of your interest will help us decide on future locations. You can email Fred Fielding, ICP Interim Board President at fredfielding3@yahoo.com directly.

The cost for the conference is $20.00 which includes continental breakfast and lunch. Register online here. Veterans may register at no cost, and nobody will be turned away due to lack of payment. Space is limited, so you must register online or by phone prior to the event. You may pay in person at the conference if you are not comfortable paying by credit card the during registration process.  We will accept payments by check or cash only during the event for those who have emailed Fred Fielding.  We will not accept credit cards the day of the event.