Operation Barnabas – August, 2017

Categories: News & Announcements

Dear Operation Barnabas Congregations/Chapters,

The August 2017 Warning Order is now available.  Please click here.  There are some great stories in this issue.  Please take a moment and click on it.

Operation Barnabas congregations and chapters do some great and faithful work. Welearn from each other. Please share pictures, stories and events with the Ministry tothe Armed forces department. Please send them to: CH (COL) Gary Danielsen at: garyldan@bellsouth.net or gary.danielsen@lcms.org

The CCTP is recruiting community clergy partners to join our team and bring the National VA Chaplain Center’s tested and proven CCTP curriculum to rural communities across the country. To date, more than 4,000 clergy members, chaplains, behavioral health professionals, and others supporting Veterans in rural communities have participated in a CCTP training event.
Live training events enhance the knowledge and skills in:

  • Recognizing the holistic healthcare needs of Veterans,
  • Smoothing reintegration into family and community, and
  • Increasing clergy referrals to VA or community healthcare and resources.

VA Chaplain Facilitators will bring CCTP training events, including training materials, to your rural community. The VA Chaplain leads and facilitates the training and provides training materials, at no cost to the community clergy partner. They will work with you on our simple planning process to coordinate space, set-up, participant recruitment, and training implementation. Community clergy partners help secure a training space – such as a house of workshop, community college, or school – and recruit attendees.

For more information about becoming a CCTP Partner, contact: Chaplain Keith Ethridge, CCTP Program Lead, Keith.Ethridge@va.gov, (757) 728-3180.


About the Community Clergy Training to Support Rural Veterans Mental Health
While rural life provides benefits such as a tight-knit community and less crowding, rural Veterans have a higher risk of suicide than their urban counterparts (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2015 QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Rates for Suicide,* by Urbanization of County of Residence† — United States, 2004 and 2013). For some Veterans, serving in combat may lead to one or more mental health issues. Transitioning back to civilian life may cause stress, depression, and anxiety which can intensify underlying mental health concerns such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With only 16 psychologists per every 100,000 rural residents, there are fewer resources to support Veterans with mental health issues (American Psychological Association, 2007). In fact more than 85 percent of rural residents live in a mental health professional shortage area (Smalley et al., 2010).

Most rural communities have clergy-led faith groups, and research shows that up to one-in-four individuals who seek help for mental health problems do so from clergy (Wang, P. S., Berglund, P. A., & Kessler, R. C. [2003]. Patterns and correlates of contacting clergy for mental disorders in the United States. Health Services Research, 38(2), 647-673). However, clergy are often unfamiliar about:

  • Reintegration and transition challenges
  • Common post-service, mental health-related issues
  • Differences between PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Military culture and mental health stigma
  • How to build community partnerships to support Veterans and their families


Thank you for your continued support and partnership in the LCMS Operation Barnabas project.  As always, please contact us at Ministry to the Armed Forces if you have any questions or concerns.

In Christ’s Service,

Craig G. Muehler

Chaplain Craig G. Muehler
Director, Ministry to the Armed Forces
The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-7295
800-248-1930 Ext. 1337 (toll-free)
E-mail: craig.muehler@lcms.org
Cell: (571) 234-0073


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