Chaplains

Enhancing the chaplain's role in support of suicide prevention efforts : an active duty army battalion chaplain's pursuit of saving soldiers' lives

Author
Christopher J. Washburn
Abstract
"Chaplains bear the weight of Soldier welfare and care alongside their religious support mission. Without requiring new regulations or major overhauls in chaplain functionality, this author contends that through intentionally leveraging one's duties, an active duty Army chaplain might significantly augment the existing program of suicide prevention in a way that results in saving lives - for Soldiers to utilize chaplain support. This project explored three potential avenues of attack: chaplain integration training, expanded spiritual fitness events, and identification of barriers. Initial analysis suggests that such life-saving focused efforts have a positive impact upon building connection and fostering help-seeking behaviors." -- Leaf [2].

Developing a coaching model of ministry to mitigate moral drift in Special Operations

Author
Pete Stone
Abstract
"Soldiers serving in Special Operations Forces (SOF) live under enormous pressures to perform at the highest levels while sustaining a high, relentless operational tempo. Unless they remain grounded in an identity gives them meaning apart from their SOF profession, that pressure can more easily erode personal values, cause moral drift, and lead to unintended consequences. Chaplains serving in SOF must find effective ways to help mitigate this risk and support a flourishing life. The author received training in a Christian-based personal coaching program and implemented that coaching model with a test sample of five Soldiers serving in SOF to mitigate that risk. The author measured the effectiveness of the coaching process with direct observation, interviews and surveys, and determined that personal coaching effectively reduced the risk of moral drift in the subjects. The author concluded that the coaching model provides an effective way for chaplains serving in SOF to help Soldiers remain grounded in their identity outside of the SOF profession by helping them clarify their values, determine their priorities, and design actions that will align them with that identity. Personal coaching is an effective ministry tool chaplain can use to mitigate the risk of moral drift and support a flourishing life in the lives of their Soldiers." -- Leaf [2].

Restorative rest : sounding the alarm on a culture of excess

Author
Joseph D. Sherwin
Abstract
"The author explores the impact of restorative rest on medical staff at Brooke Army Medical Center and the Cadre of the 264th Medical Battalion in San Antonio, TX. He sought to determine the efficacy of restorative rest techniques and tools in alleviating sleep deprivation and fatigue. By teaching the value of restorative rest as revealed through the Sabbath, the author intends to examine its effects on promoting greater levels of readiness and resiliency among Cadre and Staff. The author further intends to use the data derived from this study as a means of developing a tool that will be used to inform Commanders regarding the dangers of sleep deprivation within their ranks and how proper Sabbath practices and restorative rest might make for a more ready and resilient fighting force." -- Leaf [2].

Pro Deo Et Patria : lessons from Daniel for navigating the God-country paradox as an army chaplain

Author
John E. Scott
Abstract
"Pro Deo Et Patria, For God and Country, is the Army Chaplain Corps motto. Is it possible to serve both when the chaplain believes these entities' values are in conflict? This project was about the God-Country Paradox, the apparent self-contradictory concept of serving God and country as a Christian Army Chaplain. The author conducted a biblical case study of Daniel 1-6, and a phenomenological questionnaire of conservative Christian chaplains to learn about this challenge and to contribute to addressing it. The author then used that knowledge to craft the God-Country Paradox workshop, which he presented to active duty battalion chaplains as a mentoring session. The author determined that identity is a critical factor in serving God and country and that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are excellent biblical archetypes of how to serve God and country loyally." -- Leaf [2].

Ministry of presence in the absence : the art of providing pastoral care across multiple deployed spaces

Author
Azande M. Sasa
Abstract
"Ministry of presence forms the heart of the chaplain's ministerial role. Yet how does ministry of presence manifest when the chaplain is estranged from or does not have physical access to their service members? This project explored the question of ministry of presence among chaplains in highly dispersed and secure Military Intelligence units within the context of a Unitarian Universalist historico-theological framework. The research methodologies for the author's data corpus included: ethnographic research, questionnaires, focus group discussions, and expert and informal interviews. She then analyzed the results in order to glean a better understanding of the applicability of ministry of presence across multiple deployed spaces. The findings suggest that flexibility and an expanded notion of presence as interconnection, presence within, and presence as creativity, lead to greater fulfillment in performing and providing religious and spiritual support for one's deployed personnel." -- Leaf [2].

Moral injury : a chaplain pre-emptive training to mitigate the longevity of moral injury results through community, training, and spiritual resilience

Author
Gary D. Sands
Abstract
"The problem proposed for this study assumes there is little or no pre-emptive Moral Injury training in the Army; and that pre-emptive Moral Injury training aids in processing through Moral Injury. This project developed a Moral Injury healing training plan; and from this plan further developed a pre-emptive Moral Injury training program. The author utilized a premade survey to discover Moral Injury in Soldier participants. The results of this survey were tallied and processed using Spearman's Rho statistic. The data demonstrated strong areas in which Soldiers needed special attention. This attention is the focus of the healing training plan." -- Leaf [2].

Silence and solitude : being fully present to god, self, and others in a distracted world

Author
Gregory S. McVey
Abstract
"With relentless distraction and preoccupation, the current cultural environment suffers from a certain kind of attention deficit disorder in which individuals are rarely "all there." People often find themselves going in a hundred directions. Without the ability for sustained focus, they struggle to remain fully present to the things that matter most. This loss of attentiveness can result in a devastating loss of connectedness (i.e., being fully present) to what God is doing, to the condition of one's self, and to how we are connected to others. To test this hypothesis, silence is introduced using disciplines such as solitude, meditation, and spiritual journaling. To fulfill the goal of the project, Soldiers and Civilians from the United States Army Cyber Command and United States Army Chaplain School and Center completed a seven-day devotional (including fasting from social media). Also, surveys and personal interviews were conducted to gain feedback. The project concludes the practice of silence, solitude, journaling, and fasting from social media does bring about an increase in spiritual growth and connectedness." -- Leaf [2].

"A Triple C" (Arouse, Control, Convert and Counsel) Model : effect of spiritual resiliency model in curbing suicide in service member's lives

Author
Oyedeji O. Idowu
Abstract
"The Military has always applied every necessary means available to them to curb the act of committing suicide, and there is still more to be done. . . . This project . . . will aid the military mission and effort to counter the rate of increase in service members' depression, suicide attempts, suicide completions, and any form of spiritually affected challenges. With this mind, I deemed it necessary to apply and implement the controllable ideas on how to help service members with their problems before it gets out of control through what I call AROUSE, CONTROL, CONVERT, CONNECT (ACCC) model. This model is a spiritual resiliency intervention model that can also apply to a non-religious type of setting." -- Leaf [2].

"Building healthier marriages in a military community"

Author
Kimberly Hall
Abstract
"Divorce rates are high in the armed services with a high likelihood members will be divorced once or even twice before the age of 30. The author prioritizes marriage counseling in her work as a military Chaplain, more so than she did while pastoring in the local church. This study examines contributing factors within military culture that lead to dissolution of marriages and examines possible remedies to the problem. The project proposes a role for the Chaplain as a care leader to help military service members build healthier marriages. In addition, it also seeks to foster increased Chaplain-led retreats and seminars for couples to build and maintain resiliency in their marriages." -- Leaf [2].

Formed in the presence of God : the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps and classical spiritual formation

Author
Kenneth D. Gillespie
Abstract
"This project seeks to address a problem in how the US Army currently develops spiritual fitness. Spiritual fitness is recognized as a key component of Soldier and family readiness, but existing programs fail to adequately address spiritual fitness. US Army chaplains are best positioned to correct this deficiency. The training program offered as part of this project seeks to determine whether training on spiritual formation disciplines classic to the Christian tradition will enable US Army chaplains to feel more confident and competent to address spiritual fitness among Soldiers and families and whether or not it will inspire US Army chaplains to develop and offer similar training from within their own spiritual formation traditions." -- Leaf [2].
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