ENDORSERS CONFERENCE FOR VETERANS AFFAIRS CHAPLAINCY Minutes of

Document Sample
ENDORSERS CONFERENCE FOR VETERANS AFFAIRS CHAPLAINCY Minutes of Powered By Docstoc
					                   ENDORSERS CONFERENCE FOR
                 VETERANS AFFAIRS CHAPLAINCY
       Minutes of the Annual Plenary Meeting and Business Session
                           December 7, 2006

PLENARY MEETING

1. Call to Order and Introductions. Chairperson Frank Clawson called the meeting to
order and introduced VA National Chaplain Center Director Hugh Maddry, who in turn
introduced the plenary lecturer.

2. Annual Plenary Lecture – Honorable Gordon Mansfield. Chaplain Maddry
introduced our plenary lecturer, the Honorable Gordon Mansfield, Deputy Secretary of
the US Department of Veterans Affairs. (Biography on file.)

Gratitude was expressed for the ministry of VA chaplains and the faith groups who have
provided them, and to the enduring role that they have played in the formation and
development of values in our country and armed forces. Our veterans need more than
that which physicians alone provide; they need whole-person recovery from the wounds
of war, which also involves the ministry of our chaplains. Each war has brought its
unique challenges for our veterans who served; the war in Iraq will bring a host of
traumatic injuries, such as those to the brain. The VA Department must be prepared to
care for these veterans, and the chaplain corps will play a key role in the years ahead as
we seek to care for the total person.

3. Presentation on “Great VA Chaplaincy.” Keith Etheridge, Deputy Director of the
National VA Center, introduced the presenter for our professional issues lecture,
Chaplain Michael Pollitt, Chief, Chaplain Services, VAMC, Coatesville, PA. Bishop
George Packard, Chaplain Pollitt’s endorser, also provided introductory remarks.

Our veterans are those who have given with great commitment, willing to make the
ultimate sacrifice, and they are deserving of our gratitude; ministry to them is our
privilege. They are nearly always willing to tell the story of their finest hour during
service in World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, etc. Emphasis was given to the development
and use of a spiritual assessment tool for use with person dealing with chemical
dependency. For example, one assessment question was, “What does intoxication do for
you that sobriety doesn’t?” While any profession could ask that question, nevertheless it
is often answered in terminology germane to the spiritual needs; chaplains are trained to
recognize that language and deal with the relevant issues in ministry to the patient.
Assessment is followed by a spiritual treatment plan and use of appropriate interventions.
This is done in the context of an interdisciplinary team. Chaplains today need to be
professionally trained, able to provide competent care in a clinical context. Their duties
include being on call and handling emergencies; patient care; labor mediation; teaching;
conducting small groups; conducting religious services; participating in committees;
counseling; employee assistance activities; clinical patient charting, etc. Send us your
best for this special ministry!
ECVAC Plenary Minutes
December 7, 2006
Page 2



4. Current VA Issues – An Overview. Chaplain Hugh Maddry, Chief of the National
VA Center in Hampton, VA, provided an overview of current issues in VA chaplaincy.
Using the packet of materials provided to endorsers, Maddry discussed the following:

       A. A review of the lawsuit by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, an atheist
       group that is claiming that the VA has violated the First Amendment
       establishment clause by including spiritual care in its program – they claim it is a
       promotion of religion. The department has responded to the lawsuit, but
       additional comments are not appropriate since the case is ongoing in the courts.
       B. Current attempts to provide care for Native American and various tribal
       groups in Alaska.
       C. Involvement with a program called My Health-e Vet.
       D. Current efforts to address mental health needs of veterans, including training
       chaplains and local clergy in dealing with PTSD.
       E. The role of chaplains in responding to polytrauma among veterans.
       F. Professional training for VA chaplains in 2007. The new VA chaplain
       education center will be dedicated January 8, 2007.
       G. Personnel issues, including statistical reports (total hires, women and
       minorities, etc.).
       H. Strategic planning and “stretch goals” for VA chaplaincy.


5. Panel Discussion of VA Chaplaincy Issues, and Question and Answer Session.
Deputy Director Keith Etheridge, joined by Associate Directors Mike McCoy, Paul Holt,
Lowell Kronick, Jeni Cook, Will Kinnaird and Human Resources Specialist John
Batten, led a discussion of VA chaplaincy issues. Director Hugh Maddry also
participated. A question and answer session followed. Issues presented and discussed
included:

       A. Mediation and mediation training throughout the system.
       B. Leadership training.
       C. Educational issues, including training in polytrauma response to meet needs
       of currently deployed and returning veterans. Chaplaincy has been listed in the
       second tier of specialists dedicated to responding to these needs. A one-week
       intensive course is scheduled to train chaplains for this work. This is a ministry
       for patients and families.
       D. New and creative initiatives, including meeting the needs of veterans in rural
       areas. One approach is the program My Health-e Vet, a web-based approach to
       meet needs of vets at home or other locations where they can go online.
       Spirituality is an aspect of the mental health portal on the web site. Another
       innovation is sponsoring conferences for women in the VA – such as helping
       women minister to returning veterans.
       E. Quality management issues, such as conducting a national patient satisfaction
       survey, with elements that rate the quality of spiritual care delivered in the
       hospital. Another area is the collection of chaplain service reports, part of a
ECVAC Plenary Minutes
December 7, 2006
Page 3
       system-wide automated reporting system which collects data about chaplains’
       programs.
       F. Personnel statistics and issues (as reported in handouts).


BUSINESS SESSION

1. Recognitions and Appreciation - Chairperson Clawson recognized the following:

       Maureen Francis
       A special recognition and appreciation was given to Maureen Francis,
       NCMAF/ECVAC Administrative Assistant, who is retiring after 24 years of
       service to the conferences.

       New Endorsers
       John Craycraft, Christian Churches & Churches of Christ
       Harold Robinson, Jewish
       William Sullivan, Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (new agency)
       Don Taylor, Church of Christ

       New Associate Endorsers
       Will Bearden, Baptist General Convention of Texas
       Tom Carter, United Methodist Church
       Daniel Miller, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel
       Mike Peterson, International Ministerial Fellowship
       Norman Pratt, Liberty Baptist Fellowship.

       First ECVAC Conference Attendees
       Arless Glass, United Pentecostal Church International
       John Simmons, Open Bible Churches

       Departing Endorser
       Jim Maxwell, Church of Christ

       Guests
       Doug Stevenson, Church of God in Prophecy
       Bradford Riza (Baptist General Convention of Texas)
       Joe Gallick (Orthodox Church)
       Linda Ghere (International Church of the Foursquare Gospel)

2. Secretary’s Report

       ECVAC Secretary, Martin Feldbush, gave the Secretary’s Report of the
       December 8, 2005 Plenary session, and the September 7 and December 6, 2006
       Executive Committee meetings. (report materials on file).

       MOVED (Gary Councell) and SECONDED (David Plummer) to accept the
ECVAC Plenary Minutes
December 7, 2006
Page 4
       Secretary’s Report.

       Motion was adopted.

3. Treasurer’s Report and Adoption of 2007 Budget

       ECVAC Treasurer Don den Dulk gave the Treasurer’s Report and presented the
       proposed budget for 2007 (report and budget materials on file).

       MOVED (Ed Brogan) and SECONDED (John Craycraft) to accept the
       Treasurer’s Report and approve the 2007 budget as presented.

       Motion was adopted.

4. Report of the Nominating Committee and Election of Officers

       Nominating Committee chair Gerry Blackburn pointed out that, due to the
       resignation of Chair-elect Greg Hill, it is necessary that we make a temporary
       exception to the ECVAC Guidelines pertaining to time served in office; it is
       recommended that Frank Clawson (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
       remain as Chair for an additional year and that Hugh Morgan (International
       Pentecostal Holiness Church) be elected as the new Chair-elect who will assume
       the chair at the next plenary meeting.

       MOVED (Frank Masserano) and SECONDED (John Murdoch) to approve the
       report of the nominating committee and elect Frank Clawson as Chair, December
       2006-January 2008, and Hugh Morgan as Chair-elect, December 2006-January
       2008.

       Motion was adopted.


6. Wrap-up and Closing Prayer

       Chairperson Clawson made concluding remark, and closing prayer was offered by
       Hugh Morgan.

       The conference session was adjourned until January 11, 2008.

Respectfully submitted,

Martin W. Feldbush
ECVAC Secretary
December 7, 2006