New VMFC Lead Congregation in Denver

On February 10, 2020 the Military Chaplains Association received an enrollment form from our newest Lead Congregation from the Shorter Community AME Church in Denver Colorado from Veterans Ministry Reverend Robert Carpenter.

Shorter Community AME Church, organized in July 1868, by Bishop Thomas M.D. Ward, was the first African-American Church established in Colorado. The Church has grown form a log cabin erected in lots at the corner of 19th and Holladay Streets (now Market Street) to its current locations, “Freedom Crossroads”, Martin Luther King Boulevard and Richard Allen Court. St. John AME Church was organized by Bishop Thomas M. D. Ward.  The new Veterans Ministry will be the Church’s 35th Ministry.

Let’s welcome our newest Lead Congregation Pastor Dr. Timothy Tyler and Lay Leader Reverend Robert Carpenter to our VMFC family.

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TN Governor Bill Lee Recognizes teen suicide as a state health crisis

On February 3, 2020 TN Governor Bill Lee signed HJR 0001 “Statement of Intent or Position – Recognizes teen suicide as a health crisis in Tennessee.”  This bill was originally introduced on November 7, 2018.  In which time the rate of TN suicides surpassed the national rate according to YRBSS definitely qualifying youth suicide as a crisis.

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VA announces proposed rule regarding equal treatment of faith-based organizations in VA-supported social service programs

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)  proposed a rule, Jan. 16, that would implement President Trump’s, May 3, 2018, Executive Order (EO) establishing a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, to remove regulatory barriers allowing religious and non-religious organizations equal treatment in VA-supported social service programs. 

The proposed rule ensures VA-supported social service programs are implemented in a manner consistent with the Constitution and other applicable federal law. 

Under current regulations governing these programs, religious providers of social services — but not other providers of social services — must make referrals under certain circumstances and must post notices regarding this referral procedure. VA’s proposed rule would eliminate religious providers from this requirement.  

The current hinderances were not required by any applicable law, and because they were imposed only on religious social service providers, they are in tension with recent Supreme Court precedent regarding nondiscrimination against religious organizations. The proposed rule will foreclose other unequal treatment of religious organizations by ensuring they are not required to provide assurances or notices that are not required of secular organizations.  

By compelling religious organizations, but not secular organizations, to post special notices and make referrals, the alternative-provider requirements unequally placed impediments on religious organizations and cast unwarranted suspicion on them. 

Additionally, the proposed rule will clarify that religious organizations may apply for awards on the same basis as any other organization and that when VA selects award recipients, VA will not discriminate based on an organization’s religious character. The proposed rule further clarifies that religious organizations participating in VA-supported social service programs retain their independence from the government and may continue to carry out their missions consistent with religious freedom protections in federal law, under the First Amendment.  

The proposed rule incorporates the Attorney General’s 2017 Memorandum for All Executive Departments and Agencies, Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty. That memorandum was issued pursuant to President Trump’s, May 4, 2017, Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty, which guides all federal administrative agencies and executive departments in complying with federal law. 

“Protecting religious liberty is a key part of ensuring Veterans, families and potential partners — no matter their religious beliefs — feel welcome to work with and seek services from VA,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “These important changes will help us accomplish these important goals.” 

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Happy New Year From MCA’s Executive Director

A Happy New Year to each of you reading today’s Newsgram! Today’s column will address three topics, and in order they are Veteran/Military Friendly Congregations program, MCA Scholarships, and the Distinguished Service Awards.      

Veteran/Military Friendly Congregations (VMFC) – please note the article below which lists our newest congregations who have joined this ministry. Having mentioned it several times recently, I highlight VMFC as it is an excellent way for a congregation to embrace, honor, and support all those who serve in uniform – especially in these times of constant deployments – and their families. VMFC congregations honor all members who have served our nation – actively serving, retiree, or veteran. Going forward we will always list new VMFC congregations as they join the program.      
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Shoreline Church from Monterey CA enrolls as newest CA VMFC in 2020

On January 4, 2020 Pastor Pina enrolled Shoreline Church into MCA’s Veteran/Military Friendly Congregation. Shoreline Church has a Ministry Launch Team that encourages volunteer leaders with a passion for a new ministry, and wants to help ensure the success of both the leader and the ministry. Pastor Roy Pina has accepted the challenge and is Shoreline’s VMFC ministry leader.

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New QPR Gatekeeper Instructors hosted by Concord United Methodist Church


On December 17, 2019 Vet to Vet Tennessee conducted its 6th QPR Gatekeeper Suicide Prevention Instructor class. The class was hosted by Veteran/Military Friendly Lead Congregation Concord United Methodist Church. The nine (9) graduates included nurses from Covenant Health, counselors from Pellissippi State Community College and a Fire Chief from Lenoir City.

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New VMFC Host a Free Expungement Clinic in Rural TN

Our newest Veteran/Military Friendly Congregation hosted an Expungement Clinic in rural Eastern Tennessee, Polk County and by Judge Sandra Donaghy, Criminal Court 10th Judicial District (JD), Judge Brooklynn Townsend, Polk County General Sessions, Melissa Keith, Clerk of Courts, District Attorney Stephen D. Crump 10th JD, Public Defender Richard Hughes 10th JD, UT College of Law Legal Clinic, Vet to Vet Tennessee and First Baptist Church of Benton. Special guest and support were Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon G. Lee and Monroe County General Sessions and Veterans Court Judge Dwaine Thomas. The community turnout was better than expected despite the inclement weather. This is the 3rd Expungement Clinic that UT College of Law and Vet to Vet Tennessee partnered together.

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VMFC Host 1st Youth/Military/Spiritual Suicide Prevention play “Worth It”

November 10, 2019 a new VMFC, Faith Promise North Knox Church, Knoxville, Tennessee hosted a new suicide prevention comedy, musical and drama about youth/military suicide.

Vet to Vet Tennessee created and produced the show which was performed on the 244th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. The name of the show is “Worth It” which was written and produced by Tonya Stoutt Brown.

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VMFC Host QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Instructor Class December 17, 2019

Concord United Methodist Church is a MCA VMFC lead congregation and is hosting a QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Instructor class on Tuesday December 17, 2019.

Vet to Vet Tennessee (VTVT) is providing 10 free Instructor training scholarships for the class. Several members of other VMFC congregations have already enrolled. Enrollment to the class is currently open until December 1, 2019. Travel and lodging scholarships are also available. So please hurry, scholarships go fast. Go to https://suicideprevention.tnvhc.org/becoming-a-gatekeeper-instructor/

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