The Soul Care Initiative is a new initiative launched by JustPeace in the summer of 2014 and coordinated by Chaplain David E. Smith.
It is a mission and ministry assisting the local church to receive and re-assimilate returning veterans into the community of faith and the community at large. Soul care manifests itself in various forms; visitation, worship, prayer, hospitality, and the sacraments.
Why this mission and ministry? Upon returning home, many veterans face the biggest challenge of the war. They return wounded in mind and spirit. The church is uniquely positioned to help. How can congregations faithfully serve our veterans and their families? The issues our veterans face are complex. Soul Care Initiative will explore the specific needs of our retuning veterans and their families, provide awareness and education of the challenges facing returning veterans, and assist churches to design ministries and resources to welcome and minister to the veteran and their family.
Working with partners within the United Methodist denomination and beyond, we continue to learn more about the impact of trauma, especially related to wounded warriors and their families. We are seeking to focus resources within local communities in the hope of cultivating networks of spiritual care and resiliency among congregations and faith partners. This initiative begins with companioning with U.S.veterans and their families, and the journey has the potential to deepen understanding, network effective resources and strengthen faith communities in various contexts.
Journeying Together with Our Returning Veterans and Their Families
The battlefield became a test of the soul as the warrior confronted the horrors of war. As hundreds of veterans return to their communities from Iraq and Afghanistan, the threat of combat still lingers. The Rocket Propelled Grenades and tracers from an AK 47 no longer scream past and the threat of incoming mortar fire no longer exist. For many of our veterans, even after they return home, they are still at war.
War has made a devastating impact on the warrior. Most return wounded, never to be the same. For some the wound is not one so easily seen or even detected. It is a wounding of the mind and soul. Their journey home is fraught with fear, danger, loneliness and uncertainty.
Healing the wounded soul is an underserved component of veteran well-being. JustPeace has launched a new initiative in order to journey with veterans and their families. We will seek to focus resources within the faith-based and local communities in order to collaborate on the cultivation of spiritual care and develop resiliency to assist those affected by the trauma of war.
If you desire more information, email the Coordinator, Soul Care Initiative, Chaplain Dave Smith, US Army retired (firstname.lastname@example.org).
About Chaplain Dave E. Smith
David served as a senior leader in the United States Army Chaplaincy with over 30 years of multi-faceted experience in training, group facilitation, coaching, leadership development, program design and execution. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Divinity Degree from Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC, a Master of Science in Television Radio and Film from Syracuse University, and a Master of
Science in Strategic Studies from the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. Click here to read more.