CALLAWAY, Md.— Daniel Moore has a burden for military personnel and their families. A retired Army Master Sergeant, Moore serves as senior pastor at Callaway Church in Callaway, Md., where he leads several ministries that focus on military families.
“I jokingly say that to be a deacon at my church, you must be a Navy Petty Officer or a retired Navy Officer,” laughs Moore, who also serves as part-time chaplain at nearby Charlotte Hall Veteran’s Home.
For the past 13 years, Moore has served at Callaway Church, located near the Patuxent Naval Air Base, which is 65 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. In addition to ministering to families at the naval air base and at the veterans’ home, Moore works with seamen at the Harry Lundeberg Seamanship School in Piney Point, Md., and with high school students who are considering military careers.
Most recently, his church has agreed to participate with a referral program, “Partners in Care,” sponsored by the Maryland National Guard. With the National Guard’s referrals, his church will have even more opportunities to make a difference.
In 2005, Maryland Adjutant General, Major General Bruce Tuxill, who had been deployed as an Air Force pilot himself, felt a burden for the families of military personnel. He instructed Colonel William Sean Lee, a chaplain assigned to the Maryland National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, to develop a program to support soldiers and their families by forming partnerships with local faith communities.
To date, 55 congregations across Maryland have signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the Maryland National Guard, which allow referral of guardsmen and their families to the closest available congregation. The MOU defines the purpose, scope and nature of the partnership.
In short, support is offered by the participating congregation to all Maryland National Guard personnel and families within the limits of their congregational resources and abilities and free of charge without regard to the recipient’s religious affiliation.
Since its inception, nearly 250 referrals to congregations have been made.
Guardsmen and families are encouraged to participate in and access their own faith community, if affiliated.
Type of services that can be performed include counseling for individuals, couples, marriages and families; childcare; basic household and auto repairs; child and teen education and mentoring; reunion support; women’s, men’s and children’s support groups and activities; crisis and grief counseling; among other opportunities.
“It’s pretty simple,” shared Lee, explaining how faith communities are already predisposed to helping families. “You do what you are already doing and what God has enabled you to do.”
For churches who want to start ministries to the military, Lee suggests that they look within their congregations for volunteers to serve as the points of contact for the “Partners in Care” program.
“Most congregations have veterans or family members who have served in the military,” he noted.
Lee’s current goal is to have at least one flagship congregation represented in each of Maryland’s 23 counties. Already, 20 counties are represented, except for Charles County, Somerset County and Worcester County.
For churches to learn more about participating in the “Partners in Care” referral program, four regional training events will be held on the first four Thursdays in October: Hagerstown, Oct. 2; Towson, Oct. 9; Cheltenham, Oct. 16; and Easton, Oct. 23.
All faith communities are welcome to participate as “Partners in Care” congregation. Referral to a “Partner in Care” congregation by Maryland National Guard in no way implies endorsement of a particular religion by the Maryland National Guard.
Congregations wanting more information can call the Maryland National Guard Chaplain’s Office at (410) 576-6124 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org