The Voice for Chaplaincy - Chartered by Congress - Serving Since 1925
Weekly Newsgram - October 18th,  2017

National Institute - Next Week

Chaplains David Lile and Mike Burgess with Rwandan medical and military personnel

Let There be Light!

May the world never forget the genocide which occurred in Rwanda in 1994. Within a few hours of an opposition leader's plane being shot down, between 500,000 and 1 million Rwandans were killed in planned attacks ordered by the interim government. The world reeled from the carnage and has long sought to reconcile such horror in our midst. 

Today the situation in Rwanda is far different. Through international involvement and intense programs to seek true reconciliation, Rwanda now supplies 6,000 peacemakers throughout the world supporting UN missions. The nation stands as a model of ongoing reconciliation to honestly deal with the past tragedies. 

Into the midst of the current situation come two US military chaplains to learn and provide. Chaplains David Lile and Mike Burgess from African Command recently spent six days in Kigali working with 21 Rwandan medical and military personnel. Their two goals were to both provide and learn from their counterparts with respect to operations at the tactical level and also to understand the model used by the Rwandan's for combat operational stress control. 

The Rwanda model offers credible guidance for other nations to follow in dealing with combat operational stress. The Rwandans "are careful in screening and selecting troops before, during and after deployments; they have a tight internal structure where soldiers keep watch over each other; they enforce a zero-defect policy concerning ethical conduct; a strict disciplined code of conduct is encapsulated in the Rwandan Defense Force Ethical ROE handbook; and a solid military family structure is integrated into the national fabric. It is all one piece of cloth which characterizes this resilient military." (US African Command Article)

Burgess said, " It is their strong sense of community as families and a nation which has helped their military to be resilient through multiple deployments over the last decade."

As we and other nations have witnessed increased polarization and resultant tragedies from what seems to be an increasingly divided populace, perhaps we can take hope in a nation such as Rwanda - bringing light and hope where hatred and violence had stolen the future. How good it is for our chaplains to be part of this process of learning and healing. Perhaps being salt and light still applies today. 

Congratulations Chaplains Lile and Burgess for your forward thinking and service. 

Lyman Smith
Executive Director

Religion Matters

At the National Institute next week, former US Southern Command Chaplain, Mike Lembke, will present on how religion matters in our engagements with people across the globe. 

In preparation for his talk and for your own personal development, please find attached an article he penned last year entitled  A FACTOR FOR ANALYSIS, A FORCE FOR GOOD
Strategic Religious Advisement at the Combatant Command.

An excerpt - " It is imperative that the US Army Chaplaincy appropriate the lessons of the recent past and seize the opportunities before us in capitalizing on existing networks, relationships and methodologies that strengthen the profession and empower our leaders to understand religion as a factor for analysis and a force for good."

Please read this prior to your attendance in Newport News. And if you are still debating whether to join us, let this and the other offerings make up your mind. This is a meeting not to be missed. 


Suicide Care, Prevention & Research Initiativ e

Carol Stewart and Dr. Jessica LaCroix will be in attendance during our Annual Meeting in Newport News VA from October 23-26. As researchers developing a Special Operations Force Suicide Prevention Workbook for chaplaincy, the seek chaplains, chaplain assistants, or religious program specialists who have had experiences managing suicide-related events within the SOF community. 

Anyone who has been part of such a chaplain care situation is invited to meet with them for a confidential 60 minute interview to better understand the needs and challenges of care providers working with SOF service members and their families in this important area. 

Please send a note to to sign up for this opportunity. Sign ups will also be available at the meeting 

For more information see the attachment here. 

Pastor Wanted

The United Church of the San Juans (UCSJ), in Ridgway, CO.; an outdoor community situated in the beautiful San Juan Mountains in South West Colorado; is a Christian multi-denominational, ecumenical church that is affiliated with the ELCA, PC(USA), UCC & UMC. 

We are seeking a full time ordained pastor from one of these 4 denominations.
Our church was founded in 2003 and has experienced steady growth. Lay members lead many of our ministry and operational programs including mission & outreach, care ministry, congregational life, education and administration. Our congregation is debt-free with regard to the church building and the land, and the adjoining land for future expansion as well.

Please visit our website and  UCSJ on Facebook  for our full pastor search document and for additional information about our church and community. We are open to all ordained experienced pastors, including those nearing retirement or who are recently retired Military Chaplains. Send your RMP, PIF, PSII, personal history or resume to:

Religion and Spirituality:
The Impact on Chaplains

Registration Open Through Sunday
Sign Up Here

MCA National Institute 2017
October 23 - 26, 2017
Newport News, Virginia

Please Note: Our room block has ex[ored. Rooms are still available at the hotel. If you qualify, use the military rate. This is within a few dollars of the room block rate. 

or call

Unique and Limited Opportunity

Methodist and Presbyterian Ministers Only

You are invited on a trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land - for $500.00 single occupancy total cost!
Christians United For Israel has been funded for our annual CUFI Pastors/Leaders Israel Tripfor $500.00 per person.  We will meet Palestinian/Arabs, Muslim/Israeli citizens, Jewish leaders and IDF soldiers as we, " where Jesus walked!" and you will only miss one Sunday from your pulpit.

Attached you will find our rough itinerary that is still being completed with some new exciting additions. Also attached is your registration form and information as to where to send everything needed to reserve your seat!

We will leave on Monday, February 5, 2018 at (from JFK) and land back in the US very early morning, February 13, 2018.

From one of our members who participated in a previous trip - 

"What I found most valuable was to see the context, and experience the biases (from both sides) so that I could ask more informed questions and arrive at more realistic expectations."

Visit our  website. There you will be able to update your contact information, joinpay your dues, make donationsfile ministry reports, contact our supporters, read The Military Chaplain magazine and otherwise connect to resources.

If you missed the October 11th   edition of the Newsgram     click here
SUPPORTING CHAPLAINCY IN AND OUT OF UNIFORM: Active, Retired and Former Chaplains of the  United States Army,  United States Navy,  United States Air Force, Department of  Veterans Affairs, and  Civil Air Patrol

AND THOSE THEY SERVE: military members, veterans, and their families  at home and around the world

The Military Chaplains Association of the USA
(703) 533-5890 | Email | Website