Clergy train to help veterans
In Muskogee, a new clinical pastoral education program is helping clergy to better serve military veterans.
Among the students are Oklahoma Conference pastors Joe Lynch, center, who serves Tulsa-Sheridan Avenue UMC, and Ricky Huggins, second from right, who serves at Journey UMC, Fort Smith, Ark.
The inaugural 13-week graduate-level program began in July. It is offered through the Jack C. Montgomery Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Muskogee.
Often veterans turn to church for help, VA leaders said, but their unique needs are not understood. This training seeks to teach clergy the dynamics some military veterans face and ways to respond effectively. The program will also familiarize clergy with the VA health care system, so they can refer veterans to the system.
Another resource is online for churches supporting military families. The free materials are offered through the Oklahoma Conference and U.S. Army OneSource.