Let me try to summarize our mission, and our hopes for the next year or so. We are, as you know, an incorporated WI nonprofit (still in the process of pursuing our federal 501c tax exemption), run by a board of evangelical Lutheran (WELS/ELS) veterans from all branches of service, in several states. Some of us on the board are retired military; others are still active duty; and some, like myself, are “ex” military…who served but separated before retirement. We are rank neutral (board members can be officers, NCO’s, or junior enlisted – and there is no rank among us) and apolitical.
We are a national level organization, designed to have national reach, but local impact. We are designed to be both an auxiliary to WELS Military Services in their support of active duty service members, and an independent organization supporting the needs of our military veterans and our “military families” of both active duty members and veterans.
Our LMSG programs and projects then are and will focus on these three areas: 1) active duty support; 2) veteran support, and 3) military family support.
- Active Duty Support: We will be prepared to provide logistical, financial, educational and human resources support to WELS Military Services. As current and former military people who have been, or current are, “over there”, we bring a host of skills, relationships, and perspectives not generally found among civilian church leadership.
- Veteran Support: Our initial efforts are centered around supporting and enhancing Synodical activities in addressing PTSD. Military Services, through Pastor Paul Ziemer and others, is very involved in education, training and addressing PTSD from a spiritual/pastor’s perspective. We at LMSG bring personal expertise to the areas of PTSD and PTSD treatment.
- Military Family support: Those of us who have served are acutely aware of the critical role military families play in creating and maintaining an effective military force, and we are also aware of the unique hardships suffered by families of active duty/forward-based/forward deployed troops, and also the unique hardships suffered by the family members of veterans. Not only are veteran family members supporting those who have served, but in a real and tangible way, military family members have also served, sacrificed and suffered in their own right. For military families we are working to create an annual, Synod-wide, recognition day. We are also looking at supporting connectivity, catechism, and bible information/education class opportunities for the family members stationed at remote locations who otherwise would go without.
As you can see, we have many opportunities to make a Synod-wide difference by driving national programs, projects, recognition and support for Lutheran military members and their families. However, we don’t simply want to be a top-down organization. We want to encourage local awareness, education and projects at the congregational level. There are also outreach/evangelism opportunities which might present themselves to individual congregations as the result of the activities of LMSG.
Finally, in the space between Military Services and our Synod level support, and the opportunities and activities in the local congregations, LMSG sees itself as a conduit and enabler/enhancer for the flow of information, resources and expertise…both up and down.
Hopefully this helps a little to explain our mission, vision and focus. Our website is in the final stages of development, and will be out soon. This will help us tremendously with our mission.
Our hope is that you will appoint a congregational liaison (active duty, veteran or family member) through whom we might communicate regularly. We would also request a congregational membership donation to formally join our organization…we recommend $75. At some point in the near future, we are asking member congregations to take up a free will offering for our organization to help us with our developing programs.
Please let me know how else I/we might help. I’ve included our board officers on my response.
In His service,
Philip G. Mowry, Esq
WELS Lutheran Military Support Group, Inc (LMSG)