The Bishop’s E-pistle: Serving Those Who Served – A New Ministry for Veterans & Military Service Members

As I mentioned in my address to the convention two weekends ago, I have been eager to work with local leaders to create a diocesan structure initiative to support ministries with and among military veterans & those still serving in the military.  I was incredibly blessed when the Rev. Laura Adelia recently entered into a conversation with me about working on this. She is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the USAF and served as a chaplain during her 26 years of service. 

We know that because of the unique & high-stress aspects of military life & service, including deployments around the globe, many veterans suffer traumas that profoundly affect their lives & their ability to reintegrate into civilian and family life.  Many veterans suffer from PTSD, addiction/substance abuse, loneliness, depression, anxiety, traumatic brain injury, have thoughts of suicide, feel invisible or like they don’t fit in, as well as many other ills.  Also, many military service members & veterans suffer from moral injury, which occurs when a person experiences or witnesses violent actions during the war, such as civilian casualties or seeing a comrade die.  

The church can be a place where a loving community can provide healing, stability, and renewal, especially for our military service members & veterans. 

What resources do congregations need to better welcome and care for veterans and service members currently within our churches and community? 

How can the Church help provide community, support, and a safe place for veterans who are in need of social connection and a faith community? 

This ministry could take a number of different forms depending upon where Rev. Laura Adelia finds interest, resources, and leadership. She is embarking upon a season of listening, connecting, organizing, and collaborating so that we can determine what will best fit each of our various parishes & communities in Arizona.  She has familiarized herself with models from other dioceses and has the skills necessary in organization and evaluation to get this off the ground.  She has already represented me in an Arizona veterans’ forum, and I am so pleased to commission her into this new phase of ministry! 

If you are interested in helping lead this ministry or know of people in your congregation who might do so, please reach out to Rev. Laura Adelia at 

O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our county who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, page 839)