Chaplains emphasize care for returning service personnel
Written by Martin Bailey
June 29, 2009
After 24 years of serving around the globe service as a military chaplain, Lt. Cmdr. Pamela June Anderson is now specializing in three areas. The UCC minister is increasingly focused on helping service personnel reenter society and reunite with their communities, churches, and families. She is also involved in the prevention of suicides and domestic violence involving former service personnel.
Lt. Com. Anderson is at the 27th General Synod of the United Church of Christ. She attended a special luncheon recognizing five military chaplains and some 35 non-military chaplains serving in hospitals, colleges, nursing homes and jails. The UCC's work with chaplains is directed by the Rev. Richard Sparrow and the Rev. John Gundlach, UCC Minister for Government Chaplains.
Chaplain Anderson recently retired from the U.S. Navy and is now serving as a Major in the Civil Air Patrol.
Out of her experience in working with gay and lesbian personnel, Chaplain Anderson is now writing a book, "'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Don't Work." Anderson was quick to explain that she is not taking a position critical of the current policy of the Armed Services. Rather she is calling on churches to minister to gay and lesbian persons who are torn by their position "in the closet."
"God's word to the whole world is 'Ask and Tell, be open to your neighbor and honest with yourself.'" The chaplain sees her role in helping gay and lesbians who are completing terms of service discover and relate to congregations that have declared themselves open and affirming.
Along with her colleague, Lt. Leticia Rouser, Chaplain Anderson is also a member of United Black Christians.