Category Archives: Military Friendly Ministry

Veterans: Symbol of Service and Sacrifice

Listen to the Sermon (Veteran’s Day)

It was Labor Day in 2010 and I was slowly cruising around Berkeley California attempting to stock up the dorm room prior to courses beginning in the morning. The speakers and sub in the Pontiac were pumping out a broadcast from the only local Country radio station, when their DJ encouraged the audience to submit music requests that were inspired by their professions. This effort to honor the professions in the community was intriguing and inspiring to me. Later that evening, I mentioned this experience to John, who was intrigued, but quickly noted that it was a shame that music about military service is depressing.

I accepted his comment as a challenge. I was determined to expose an uplifting anthem for the American Veteran. The assumption was that the challenge would be a breeze, because Country music tends to be patriotic. Admittedly I am disappointed to acknowledge that I have failed, because whether it is James Otto’s Soldiers and Jesus or Toby Keith’s American Soldier, the emphasis is on service and sacrifice.

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Military Friendly: Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

The congregation that I am serving as intern pastor, celebrated and honored those who have served or are serving in the United States Armed Forces on Veterans Day. The worship service included the Battle Hymn of the Republic, a sermon about service and sacrifice, and a photograph slide show of our veterans. Additionally, the narthex (lobby) was adored with pictures of veterans that are connected to our community.

Obviously, the honoring of veterans and their families is evidence that the congregation is not military unfriendly. Yet, the Olympia (Washington) area has the reputation of being military unfriendly, which might be rooted in the history, the political climate, miscommunication, and/or misperceptions. Therefore, this Olympia congregation must acknowledge the reputation and be dedicated to voicing themselves as a welcoming, military-friendly community for veterans and their families in the area.

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