Community of Christ
Ministry to Military Personnel Newsletter

The Peacekeepers
2001 Vol. 1, No. 1
The Peacekeepers newsletter is available in an e-mail and a "snail-mail"  edition.

Active-duty military members who join the Association can receive either edition for free.  Non-active-duty members receive either edition with a paid membership.

 


Curt’s Column

Name Change?

Curt Heaviland

We have some things facing the association that I would like your advice on.  In as much as the church is having a name change we need to think about how that would affect the association.  Should we look for a new name?  Keep the one we have?  Change the name and use it but keep the association DBA the new name?

If we should decide to change the name then what would we change it to?  Give us some suggestions as to what you as the membership would like to do.  If we can get a consensus then we need to go to the World Church and get an approval from them.


Committee on Ministry to the Armed Forces Revisited

Curt Heaviland

When this association was formed we wanted to take up where the old Ministry to the Armed Forces left off when it was disbanded several years ago.  A number of us that felt that members of the armed forces should have representation in the church the same as any other group does.  As a result, the association was formed.  We have patterned our work after that which had been established.  Let me quote the responsibilities of the Committee on Ministry to the Armed Forces as it appeared in the 1972 Priesthood Manual:
 

The Committee on Ministry to Armed Forces personnel is composed of active priesthood members women and men who are members of the church who are in military service in the United States, Canada and abroad.  The executive secretary of the committee is under World Conference appointment as an assistant to the First Presidency.  His office is in the auditorium.

The committee members seek to reach and serve military members by direct mail and personal contact.  The committee prepares and distributes the Armed Forces Manual and the bimonthly Armed Forces Newsletter which are provided without charge to all members and friends in military service whose names and addresses are made known to the committee.  The committee also provides information to pastors and district presidents on the movement of military members and keeps in touch with and encourages church participation by all our servicemen and women, particularly by those career members who have no home branch.

A directory of churches near major military installations is inserted regularly in the Newsletter as an encouragement to members in military service to seek the nearest branch and to participate regularly in church life.  Wherever small groups of military members show up in the same area, officials are notified, leadership is sought, and encouragement given for the holding of services convenient to the majority.  Military men have served as pastors, church school directors, teachers, missionary coordinators, youth leaders, and in other local and district capacities-in a few instances serving as district presidents.  Many such members have much to offer to local congregations.

As young men and women enter military service, the military and college chairman of the local women's department [remember this was written in 1972] when approved by the pastor for this responsibility, should immediately send the names and addresses to the Military Committee [this would be the job of the recorder today], the Auditorium, Independence, Missouri, and see that these are retained on the branch mailing list.  Such ministry will do much to enrich the testimony, strengthen their resistance to temptation, and return them from service with greater maturity and desire to serve.

It would be great if we could do all of the things that the committee was responsible for!  Perhaps some day we can, but we started without funds and are now receiving some support from the World Church.  We have repeatedly asked for names from pastors of those in their congregations that are serving in the military.  When we sent our letter to 1,200 pastors throughout the world, we received approximately 32 answers.  We are attempting to put together a list of congregations that are the closest ones to major military establishments, but again it is all voluntary labor and it will take awhile.  We do have a person who, when given a name, will request visitation by a church official or member close to them (or in some cases not too close).

We're trying, but we have a long way to go.  There is such a need to minister in your areas, but funds and manpower to do so limit us!  It is our hope that each one of you will be a missionary in your own right and spread the word of Jesus Christ in the corner of the world where you are.

There are those that will accuse us of being militant and wanting to spread armed conflict throughout the world.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  We are as our newsletter name implies PEACEKEEPERS.  It is absolutely fantastic that the world has not seen a major conflagration for a number of years.  It is because, I'm convinced, there are those who are willing to put their lives on the line to make certain that it does exist.  As we look to the Middle East, we see how volatile situations can become.  How long would the hostilities exist in Bosnia and that area if there were not people willing to impose a situation where people will at least talk to each other?  It is true that the only way this is going to resolve itself is through the love of Jesus Christ and following him.  However, until that time exists, we need police officers and military men and women to enforce the rules set by society.

Rudyard Kipling expressed it very well in his poem "Tommy This and Tommy That".  You will recall that he states that the general populace had very little to do with the soldier until such time as a situation was such that it called for the military, and then they were happy he was around, and then how the attitude changed!


LIVING WITNESS

Sharon M. Clothier, East Alton Congregation, Independence, Missouri

I am a living witness to the power of faith.  I am an active member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints today because of loving families: the one I was born into and the one I married into, and a congregation in Los Angeles that nourished me, told me I was somebody, and gave me a sense of possibility. The congregation no longer exists, but its ministry lives on.

It is my belief, and has been my experience, that all of life is graced by God's presence.  Wherever we are, God is there moving among us.  As the Psalmist said: "Wither shall I go from thy spirit? Or wither shall I flee from they presence?  If I ascend into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there."  (Psalm 139)
Jesus Christ, God's son, loved, suffered, died and rose again giving us the gift of eternal life.  We testify of His life, death and resurrection by being here and by being His church.  We are the evidence of His work.  Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are called to forgive and love one another as Christ forgives and loves us.
We are part of the family of God.  Like all families, we have our tensions and joys.  I have a deep need to be a part of the family of God, this community of faith.  Through study, worship and opportunities to both give and receive care and nature, I am strengthened day by day.

I know that, as I attempt to give my life over to Jesus Christ and obey His call, there will be, as there have been in the past, times that are painful and difficult.  It was so for Jesus, and it was no better for his disciples.  As a member of this faith community, this family of God, I am strengthened to move out in surety and faith.  My prayer is that each one of us will recognize and respond to God's presence in our lives.  We don't know where God's spirit will lead us, but we have the assurance that God will be there with us.  I choose to move out in faith.

(Sharon was one our co-pastors when Joyce and I moved to Independence.  She and Bob made our transition to Independence a very good experience.  To me she will always be our ex-pastor. -CH)


A Soldier’s Christmas

Michael Marks, December 7th, 2000
(It's a little late for the following poem but I thought it was quite appropriate for our time. -CH)
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard into a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I don't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble; I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear.
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said, "It's really all right,
I'm out here by choice, I'm here every night.
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand like my fathers before me."
"My Gramps died at 'Pearl' on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers'
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam'
And now it is my turn and, so, here I am."
"I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile."
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white and blue… an American flag.
"Can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home,
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers,
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To insure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright.
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all to little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for our rights back at home while were gone.
To stand your own watch, no matter how long."
"For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

All I really needed to know I learned from Noah's Ark

Via e-mail - author unknown
  1. Don't miss the boat.
  2. Don't forget that we are all in the same boat.
  3. Plan ahead.  It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
  4. Stay fit.  When you're 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something REALLY big.
  5. Don't listen to critics, just get on with what has to be done.
  6. Build your future on high ground.
  7. For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
  8. Two heads are better than one.
  9. Speed isn't always an advantage; the snails were on board with the cheetahs.
  10. When you're stressed, float awhile.
  11. Remember that the ark was built by amateurs; the  Titanic was built by professionals.
  12. Remember that woodpeckers inside are a larger threat than the storm outside.
  13. No matter the storm, when you're with God there's a rainbow waiting.

BIBLE VERSE

Genesis 6:22: Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

PRAYER

Lord, help me to respond like Noah in faith and obedience.  Give me ears to hear your call and the faith to respond to it.  Amen.


Everyday Survival Kit

Via e-mail - author unknown
 

You need:

  1. Toothpick
  2. Rubber Band
  3. Band Aid
  4. Pencil
  5. Eraser
  6. Chewing Gum
  7. Mint
  8. Candy Kiss
  9. Tea Bag

Here's why:

Toothpick - to remind you to pick out the good qualities in others... 
(Matt 7:1)
Rubber Band - to remind you to be flexible, things might not always go the way you want, but it will work out...  (Romans 8:28)
Band Aid - to remind you to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else's... 
(Col. 3:12-14)
Pencil - To remind you to list your blessings every day... 
(Eph 1:3)
Eraser - to remind you that everyone makes mistakes, and it's okay... 
(Gen. 50:15-21)
Chewing Gum - to remind you to stick with it and you can accomplish anything ... 
(Phil 4:13)
Mint - to remind you that you are worth a mint to your heavenly father... 
(John 3:16-17)
Candy Kiss - to remind you that everyone needs a kiss or a hug everyday... 
(1 John 4:7)
Tea Bag - to remind you to relax daily and go over that list of God's blessings... 
(1 Thess 5:18)


People are like tea bags— You have to put them in hot water before you know how strong they are!
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Additions? Corrections? Questions? Contact the Ministry to Military at CofChristPeacekeepers@yahoo.com