To demonstrate God’s love to current and veteran military families, and singles, in order to meet their unique physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs.
Over the last 6 months, New Hope has welcomed a number of military families and single soldiers into the church family. Currently, active duty families/soldiers constitute about of the active church membership. As result a vibrant and consistent military ministry is needed to carry out the purpose statement above.
At present, this ministry supports the following:
- Packing and shipping of care packages to deployed members approximately halfway through their deployment. Donations are collected from and boxed by church members.
- Adopt a Family or Soldier - The purpose of this program is to establish relationships between civilian and military families in which a civilian family or member agrees to help take care of the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of that military family or single soldier. Military families and single soldiers are oftentimes physically away from families for extended amounts of time; it is the feelings of loneliness and isolation experienced as a result of these separations, that this program hopes to negate as much as possible. This program is currently targeted for active duty families but can apply to National Guard or Reservist families who are experiencing a deployment. The family that is doing the adoption agrees to do so for the length of time the active duty family is stationed at Ft. Drum of for the length of a National Guard or a Reservists deployment. The adopting family agrees to the following:
- Pray for the family
- Send cards of remembrance and encouragement to the family members for birthdays, anniversaries and especially to the deployed family member
- Invite that family or soldier into their homes for meals, family celebrations, outings or whatever activity the family does for the purpose of encouragement and fellowship
Civilian and military families/single soldiers fill out paperwork asking some personal information as well as hobbies/interests. The adopted will receive an “adoption certificate” to make their adoption “official”.
- Military Appreciation Garden - One of the four flower beds next to Rte. 3 is planted with flowers whose meanings can be applicative to the standards held by the military as well as express the emotions of family/friends when a loved one is deployed. The plants are: a red rose as a reminder of our KIA/MIA, lavender for devotion, chamomile for strength in adversity, thyme for courage, rosemary for remembrance, sweet William for gallantry, nasturiam for patriotism, forget-me-know for obvious reasons, blue sage meaning I think of you and a red poppy in honor of our neighboring Canadian military forces. Church members donate the flowers and help maintain the beds throughout the season.
On the military ministry’s information board in the foyer, the names of the deployed are listed with a corresponding yellow ribbon.
Ideas for other future programs are (once social distancing is no longer needed):
- Monthly potluck fellowship dinners for military families and single service personnel
- Appreciation dinners for current and retired military on Veterans Day
- Monthly or bi-monthly fellowship group for spouses of deployed service members
- A guide to the Watertown areas listing trusted handyman, home maintenance services, as well as businesses that offer military discounts
- Activities geared toward military spouses during March Military Spouse Appreciation Month and for the kids during April’s Military Child Appreciation Month
- Establishing partnerships with the local VA Clinic as well as the Urban Mission, The Salvation Army, and Ft. Drum Chaplaincy to share resources to increase the programs available to current and veteran service members
- Advertisement of the Operation Kid Comfort project through the YMCA
- Church provided childcare for married military couples or single parents to have a night out