Welcoming and Ministering to our Veterans

From Rev. Dr. Jan Gregory-Charpentier at Westbrook UCC: Last fall our Deacons hosted a “harvest potluck” with a theme of welcoming veterans in our community to our table. We were overwhelmed by the response! Veterans from all over the community as well as church members attended. We provided a time and space for veterans, if they chose, to identify themselves, their branch and years of service, and share anything they wanted. It was powerful! Two Vietnam vets gave deeply moving and emotional testimony and shared that this was the first time they ever spoke publicly of their service. You could hear a pin drop!

This launched an effort on the part of our congregation to begin an ongoing outreach ministry to veterans. We are bringing the expertise of the Brookfield Institute’s (www.brookfieldinstitute.org) Rev. Dr. Beverly Prestwood-Taylor, a trauma and resilience expert, who pioneered “The Journey Home from War” and “Veterans’ Storytelling Project” in Massachusetts. She will be leading us and any other interested congregations in a two-day training to learn and then develop our own veterans outreach ministry with a focus on story-sharing and support (a forte of the Church!).

The days of the training are January 24/25, 2017. Teams of 5 clergy/laity are encouraged.  A registration link will be sent out shortly.  Please email Pastor Joy at revjperkett@gmail.com or call her at 860-581-0493 if you would like to participate in this event.

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