LCMS World Mission is offering a number of resources to help congregations celebrate “Armed Forces Sunday” on May 17, or an alternate date such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Veterans Day.
The special observance, held annually the Sunday before Memorial Day weekend, gives congregations an opportunity to:
Ideas for celebrating Armed Forces Sunday include asking veterans to come in uniform to worship, having a special recognition ceremony for veterans and their families, and inviting a military chaplain to speak during the service.
Materials prepared for this year’s observance include a bulletin insert, a responsive prayer, a sermon outline, and a certificate to honor veterans — all may be downloaded free from the Web site www.lcms.org/?9923, beginning in April.
Also available on that Web site is a form congregations can use to update their list of active military members so that quarterly Ministry-by-Mail resources may be sent to them. The Ministry-by-Mail program sends free devotionals and other materials to some 6,000 Lutheran military personnel and their families stationed throughout the world.
Congregations that ordered Armed Forces Sunday materials last year will automatically receive the same number of bulletin inserts for this year’s observance.
An e-mail reminder will be sent to all LCMS congregations in April.
Chaplain Mark J. Schreiber, director of the Synod’s Ministry to the Armed Forces, addresses the theme of this year’s resources, “Changeless Warriors … Changeless Gospel,” in a letter that will accompany all orders for Armed Forces Sunday materials.
“As changeless warriors, your LCMS chaplains are committed to the changeless Gospel of Christ,” Schreiber writes. “They labor under difficult circumstances on land, air, and sea. They follow the troops in austere environments to be a ministry of presence, peace, and hope for the cause of Jesus Christ.”
The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has provided ministry to military personnel since the days of the Civil War. Today its Ministry to the Armed Forces also recruits, trains, and endorses military chaplains, and helps chaplains and military personnel re-adjust to life after deployment through its Operation Barnabas program.
The Synod has 71 active duty military chaplains and another 96 chaplains who serve Reserve and National Guard units. Eight chaplains are currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, including four Reserve chaplains mobilized from their parishes.
The ministry also endorses 23 Veterans Administration chaplains, 25 Civil Air Patrol chaplains, four chaplains with the Federal Bureau of Prison ministry, and 12 Reserve/Guard chaplains mobilized and serving in the United States.
For more information about the Synod’s Ministry to the Armed Forces, call 800-433-3954, ext. 1337, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted March 26, 2009