The Rocky Mountain Conference is committed to soul repair ministry as a way to help our veterans of war. The purpose of soul repair ministry is to be a learning community and to create a safe space for veterans to share their war experiences and to engage in new ways of doing healing ministry for veterans in the Mountain Sky Area.
In November 2015, Bishop Elaine and members of the Mountain Sky Area attended the national conference hosted by Soul Repair, Pathways to Hope: Recovering from Moral Injury and Other Invisible Wounds. This conference was so important for learning how to raise awareness in people of the moral injury and invisible wounds of war that afflict veterans at ten times the rate of physical injuries.
“Moral injury results when soldiers violate their core moral beliefs, and in evaluating their behavior negatively, they feel they no longer live in a reliable, meaningful world and can no longer be regarded as decent human beings. They may feel this even if what they did was warranted and unavoidable. Killing, torturing prisoners, abusing dead bodies, or failing to prevent such acts can elicit moral injury. The consequences of violating one’s conscience ... can be devastating. Responses include overwhelming depression, guilt, and self-medication through alcohol or drugs. Moral injury can lead veterans to feelings of worthlessness, remorse, and despair; they may feel as if they lost their souls in combat and are no longer who they were.” (Rita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini, Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury After War xv-xvi. Soul Repair Center
With 99.5 percent of the public not serving in the military, veterans and their families increasingly face a larger society that is oblivious to the emotional and spiritual cost of serving one’s country. Education of that larger public is so crucial, especially for service providers, medical care-givers, legal professionals, legislators, and especially for us, religious leaders, religious communities, and people of God. For this reason, the Rocky Mountain Conference is dedicated to developing ministries for our congregations to reach out to veterans and their families.
For more information on soul repair ministry of the Rocky Mountain Conference, please contact Rev. Dr. Youngsook Kang, Director of Mission & Ministry, at firstname.lastname@example.org.