Father Phil Salois announced the formation of the National Conference of Viet Nam Veteran Ministers at a Veterans Day event at the Wall in Washington.
Annual Meeting -- Washington, D. C. Our First Annual Meeting was held in Washington, D. C. in November of 1990, attended by 14 members, our total at the time. By-laws were drawn up and our Executive Officers and Board of Directors were elected.
We shared our faith-journey stories and made a nighttime pilgrimage to The Wall, a first time journey for some of the members. We all felt a great sense of peace and healing. We made plans for our Second Annual Meeting. At the close of the Conference a Press Release on Military Build up in Middle East was issued by the membership in which we stated our posture towards the Gulf War.
Annual Meeting -- Chicago, Illinois. Our Second Annual Meeting was held in Chicago. Our membership had grown from 14 to 39 dues-paying members in just a year's time and of the 39 members, 18 were able to attend the convocation. In Chicago, NCVNVM members were invited to visit the Park Ridge Center, where we discussed with the staff the importance of spiritual readjustment of the Viet Nam Veteran.
Publicity for NCVNVM. We received publicity in such noteworthy publications as Indochina Chronology, NAVAC, Vet Center Voice, Sojourners, Vietnam War Newsletter, Massachusetts VFW News, Stars and Stripes, and the Harding Journal of Religion and Psychiatry. We also received sponsorship and endorsement from the Massachusetts Shelter for Homeless Vets and the Brockton Vet Center.
Affiliations. During the year we became a valued part of the National Center for P.T.S.D Behavioral Research Center and were invited to be co-sponsors for the First Annual Meeting of the National Institute of Pastoral Care.
Program Activities. The NCVNVM runs a Hot-Line service for Wives of Viet Nam veterans. To date 248 calls from across the nation have come through the office phone line looking for help in dealing with the daily problems of the Viet Nam Veteran and his family. Referalls for local support groups are made when available. The caller is given the telephone number for their local Vet Center and Va Hospital and urged to contact them for help in their local area. The office secretary is the wife of a Viet Nam Veteran and knows first hand about the very unique family problems of the Viet Nam Veteran. Sometimes the caller just wants to talk to someone who understands what they are living with. We also provide a mail correspondence service for those women who would prefer to write letters rather than to call the office. This is becoming quite successful and we receive mail from some of the women on a regular basis.
Sermonettes on the Wall. We were invited by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund's 10th Anniversary Committee to participate in a special project for the spiritual section of the year-long celebration to honor the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. We were asked to help write "sermonettes" with the Wall as the focus of healing and recovery. Out of the 14 sermons submitted by NCVNVM members, 12 were selected to be used.
Administrative. During the year, we finally received our tax-exempt status from the IRS, permitting us to seek grant funding from foundations. We also purchased a computer and a second-hand photocopier to make the office operations run a little more smoothly.
Annual Meeting -- Menlo Park, California. Our Third Annual Meeting was held November 18-22, 1992 at the Vallombrosa Retreat Center in Menlo Park, California. Included was an open-forum discussion between NCVNVM members and the staff and patients of the 100-bed P.T.S.D. Unit of the Menlo Park VA Medical Center. The main focus of the discussions included War and Peace and Justice, God and Religious Faith During Wartime, and its aftermath.
We also conducted an open-forum discussion between NCVNVM members and 3 professors of Theology affiliated with 3 of the Bay Area seminaries and schools of theology. This joint discussion was focused on War and Peace and Justice issues surrounding U. S. Military policy. During the 1991 convocation, it was the general consensus of the membership that in our own seminary studies not enough emphasis was placed on peacemaking under Moral Theology and Social Ethics.
Annual Meeting -- Washington, D. C., November 8-12. The 1993 convocation was held at the Washington Retreat Center in Washington, D. C. In conjunction with the dedication of the Vietnam Veteran Women's Memorial, the main focus of this year's convocation was the Spiritual Healing of the Women of the Vietnam War. Naturally, special focus was given to the women veterans and civilian women who served in Vietnam, but consideration was also given to all women who have been affected by this war: the wives, daughters, mothers, widows, Amerasian women and Vietnamese women as well.
- A special women's panel discussion was held on the morning of November 10, 1993. The panel consisted of women representatives from the aforementioned paragraph as well as women veterans, journalists and therapists who treat the Vietnam veteran and his/her family.
- A special healing service to honor all the women who have had their lives touched by this war was celebrated on the evening of November 10, 1993 at the Washington Retreat House.
- The NCVNVM was asked by the Vietnam Veterans of America Women's Committee to celebrate a special Mass of Thanksgiving for women veterans in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 10, 1993. The Mass was concelebrated by four bishops; family members of three of the nurses whose names are on The Wall were in attendance.
Annual Meeting: Lantana, Florida, October 26-30. Our Fifth Annual Meeting was held at the Cennacle Retreat House in Lantana, Florida and focused on the Homeless and Substance-Dependent Veteran.
- On Thursday morning of the Annual Meeting, Dr. John Upledger, D. O., of the Upledger Foundation addressed the membership and reported on his research and practice of using alternative medicine in his treatment of PTSD patients.
- That Thursday afternoon was spent touring Reverend Mike Lewandowski's Lamb of God Fellowship Center. Dormitory, workshop, worship center and transitional living in a half-way housing setting were shown to NCVNVM members. Some of his associates and some of the residents spoke about life at Lamb of God Center. In addition to the benefits derived by those in residence at the Center, the neighborhood, formerly a "crack" community, has benefited and improved as well. Houses have been painted and some businesses have been re-established.
- Reverend Dan Wessner, a Presbyterian Minister who travels to Vietnam several times each year to conduct humanitarian work, conducted a day-long workshop for the membership on Friday, October 28th. The workshop focused on the First, Second and Third Generations of Rights in Vietnam. Joining Reverend Wessner was Dr. Nguyen van Canh, a visiting Vietnamese scholar sponsored by the Hoover Institute. Dr. van Canh addressed the membership on the topic of religious persecution in Vietnam.
- Chaplain Imagene Stewart, 1993-1994 National Chaplain for the American Legion Auxiliary, addressed the membership on Saturday, October 29th. Chaplain Stewart is the Founder of The House of Imagene, a homeless shelter located in Washington, D. C. which provides 24-hour emergency shelter for the homeless. Rev. Stewart founded this shelter in 1977 after finding herself homeless and forced to sleep in Lincoln Park three years earlier. She wanted to be certain others would not have to suffer as she had. The Shelter has two satellite centers. One provides shelter for battered women and children; the other provides temporary housing for homeless veterans and their families.
Annual Meeting: Oceanside, California. A special 3-day Veterans Retreat was given by NCVNVM members Reverend John Fergueson and Reverend William Mahedy, who authored the book Out of the Night: The Spiritual Journey of Vietnam Vets. This retreat was conducted October 10-15 1995 at the Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside, California. Robert Grant, Ph. D., author of the book entitled The Way of the Wound: A Spirituality of Trauma and Transformation was the keynote speaker and presented a one-day workshop.
Alan Cutter led a six session series on God and War.
The new position of Executive Director was created and Jack Day was appointed its first incumbent. Jack Day and Harvey Harrison led the group in a review of projects under development and funding sought.
NCVNVM members visited the Barona and Viejas Native Americans. While there, members were treated to a pot-luck supper and an evening of Native American dancing. NCVNVM members told of their dream to return to Viet Nam with some of the members planning to take their sons to re-walk the land as they told them about their own Viet Nam story. The Native American people took an interest in this and suggested that the NCVNVM apply to their Tribal Offices to ask for funding assistance. On June 4, 1996, we received a check in the amount of $3000 from the Barona Reservation to support return to Vietnam.
Annual Meeting: Attleboro, Masachusetts, October 15-20. The 1996 Annual Meeting was held at the Center for Christian Living Retreat House, Our Lady of La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, Massachusetts - the home office of the NCVNVM. The theme of this meeting centered on the topic of Peacemaking in the 90's and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Spiritual Approach. This meeting was celebrated in part with the La Salette Community to show our appreciation for their financial support to our organization over the years.
Plans were made to conduct a series of workshops led by 2-3 member teams of NCVNVM members to help clergy learn how to better minister to survivors of combat trauma.
Spiritual Healing Retreats. Retreats for Combat Veterans and their Spouses/Significant Others were held September 5-7, 1997 at the Center for Christian Living (La Salette) / Attleboro, Massachusetts and a month later at the Carondolet Center (St. Paul, Minnesota). NCVNVM Team Leaders for these two retreats were to be Phil Salois, Alan Cutter and Jack Day. Patience Mason, author of the the book Recovering from the War was a Team Leader for the Attleboro Retreat.
Grant Applications. Jack Day prepared a grant application for submission to the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund. VVAF approved a grant in the amount of $9650.
During the Chapter Meeting of the La Salette Community, the decision was made to continue to fund the NCVNVM in the amount of $9000 annually for the next 3 years. This is 1/2 of the $18,000 they had been contributing to the NCVNVM for the past three years. During this year the La Salette Community also voted to double the space of the NCVNVM office. The space was needed and this decision was greatly appreciated.
Vietnam Trip. Plans for the membership to return to Vietnam were deferred to the year 2000 - our 10th Anniversary Year - for A Journey of Reconciliation and healing. Possible itineraries were received by Vietnam tours and Peace Patrols Unlimited, companies specializing in custom tours to Vietnam.
Annual Meeting -- St. Paul, Minnesota. The 1997 Annual Meeting was held October 14-19, 1997 at the Carondelet Retreat Center, St. Paul, Minnesota. We were fortunate to have with us Mr. Michael Boehm who spoke with us about the development of the My Lai Peace Park project and Kermit Johnson, Chaplain (Maj Gen) Ret.) who spoke with us about his book entitled Ethics and Counterrevolution: American Involvement in Internal Wars. NCVNVM member Rev. John Plummer was also with us to share his story of meeting, at The Wall, Kim Phuc, who was the little girl burned by a napalm strike during the Vietnam War, and immortalized by photographer Nick Utt.
A review of the NCVNVM-sponsored retreats for Combat Veterans and their Spouses/Significant Others was conducted as was a workshop on PTSD and the Scriptures.
Annual Meeting -- Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 12-18. The 1998 Conference took place at the Dominican Retreat House, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Keynote speaker for this year's Annual Meeting was Lt. Col. David Grossman, author of the book, On Killing: Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society .
During the week-long conference, the members made a one-day pilgrimage to Angel Fire, the DAV Vietnam Veterans Memorial, for a day of prayer and reconciliation.
Spiritual Healing Retreats. Retreats for Combat Veterans and their Spouses/Significant Others were held this year in Attleboro, Massachusetts (Sept.) and in Albuquerque, New Mexico (October). Added detail and photographs of this Annual Meeting are on the page for the 1998 Albuquerque Convocation.
Annual Meeting, October 11-15, 1999. The 1999 Annual Meeting was held at the Dumas Bay Centre in Federal Way, Washington.
Spiritual Healing Retreats took place in Attleboro, MA (September), Federal Way, WA (October 15-17) and Mountain Home VA Medical Center, Tennessee (November 12-14). The Mountain Home retreat served patients of the VA Hospital there. In addition, a presentation was given to hospital staff in their Grand Rounds. Immediately thereafter, workshops leaders attended the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
in Miami, Lorida November 14-17, where they presented a session on Toxic Faith and PTSD.
Fire at Provincial House forced office move. On November 5, 1999 a fire destroyed the LaSalette Provincial House in Attleboro, MA, where NCVNVM had its offices for the first ten years of its existence. Several months later we were fortunate to be offered new office space by St. John's Council #404, Knights of Columbus at 2 Hodges Street in Attleboro. This space served us for several years until we learned to operate without a physical office.
Pastoral Care for Trauma Survivors. A Grant was received from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation for Pastoral Care for Trauma Survivors Project. After months of contacting and planning, the first meeting of the project was held in July in Towson, Maryland. The project was conducted in cooperation with the Sidran Foundation and was focused on an adaptation of the Risking Connection curriculum.
Annual Meeting, October 9-13, 2000, Attleboro, Massachusetts. The 2000 Annual Conference was held at the Center for Christian Living Retreat House, Our Lady of La Salette Shrine, in Attleboro, MA. At this conference the NCVNVM celebrated tens years of existence.
NCVNVM received a major grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation to support the development of the Pastoral Care for Trauma Survivors Project. This curriculum is being developed in cooperation with the Sidran Traumatic Street Foundation of Towson, MD. An initial meeting was convened by Jack Day, the project coordinator.
Reports of various projects and concerns were heard. A new NCVNVM web-site is up and running. Father Phil Salois is developing connections with various overseas veterans' organizations.
Major Presentations at the Annual Conference included:
Laurie Pearlman, PhD, on the trauma perspectives of the Risking Connections curriculum and on the topic of “vicarious traumatization.”
Jonathan Shay, M.D., on “character and trauma.”
Pearlman and Shay together on “Things I Wish Clergy and Congregations Would Do for and with My Patients.”
During 2000 a Spiritual Healing Retreat weekend was held in Attleboro, MA.
2001 Annual Meeting, October 8-12, 2001. The 2001 Annual Meeting was held at the Siena Center in Racine, WI. The meeting focused on the events of September 11, 2001, and on the topic of addictions and veterans.
Members heard updates on the various projects of the NCVNVM including connections with overseas veterans and the Pastoral Care for Trauma Survivors project. Presentations were made by Jon Christensen on “PTSD and Substance Abuse” and by Thomas H. Wynn, Sr., founder of the National Association for Black Veterans and the Center for Veterans' Issues who spoke on integrating services to veterans employing a holistic, community action method. The members also visited the Viet Nam Art Museum n Chicago.
During 2001 Spiritual Healing Retreats were held in Attleboro, MA; Augusta, ME; and Racine, WI.
2002 Annual Meeting, October 14-18. The 2002 Conference was held at the Serra Center in Malibu, CA. The theme of the meeting was “Veterans and the Media.” A report was presented about the encouraging progress being made in the Pastoral Care for Trauma Survivors project with a first draft completed. Another report dealt with a Vet Center Workshop on Spirituality.
Presentations were made by:
Jonathan Shay, M.D., PhD, on the topic “Odysseus Among the Rich Civilians: Narrative as Personal Truth or Entertainment?”
Tommy Thompson, a paralyzed television producer who as a teenager had spent 18 months is a rehab ward with profoundly paralyzed Viet Nam veterans.
Gano Haine, Jonathan Shay, and Harvey Harrison on the role of video games in military recruiting and training.
Rev. Vien Doan of Ontario CA, who shared his work with Good Samaritan Ministry Medical Ministry.
The members also toured Warner Brothers Studio and saw a special showing of The Majestic. After the showing the members met with the screenwriter Michael Sloan for an discussion.
The conference concluded with Dr. Shay and members having a discussion about the relationship between trauma and the sacred.
During 2002 Spiritual Healing Retreats were held in Attleboro, MA, Augusta, ME and Malibu, CA.
2003 Annual Meeting -- New York
2004 Annual Meeting -- Chicago. The 2004 Annual Meeting of the National Conference of Viet Nam Veteran Ministers was held at The Cenacle Retreat Center in Chicago, Illinois. It was preceded by a Spiritual Healing Retreat attended by sixteen veterans and spouses.
The Annual Meeting included a memorial service for our friend and charter member, Chaplain Russel J. Carver, who died tragically on September 10, 2004. See the Russel Carver Memorial Page on this site.
The presentations made at the Annual Meeting included one on Recognizing the Potential for Chaplaincy in Post-Traumatic Treatment by Kevin Coughlin, Traumatic Incident Reduction by Marian and Victor Volkmann, and Spirituality and. Post Traumatic Stress by Margie Pechota, Ph. D.
Rev. Jack Day made a trip to Viet Nam, bringing back an extensive series of photographs and interesting commentary. These may be viewed at
Peace and Justice resolutions were adopted, the first calling on Congress to place the budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs in the Mandatory rather than the Discretionary category. The second resolution reminded Americans of the cost paid by members of the armed forces to ensure the right to vote, and called upon all citizens to do their duty and vote in the upcoming election.
It was also voted that the name of our organization be changed to “the National Conference of VietNam Veteran Ministers doing business as the International Conference of War Veteran Ministers." We believe the change is necessary to recognize our members who serve in the Armed Forces of other nations, and to respond to new generations of veterans who are ministers or religious workers. We believe that not only will our Spiritual Healing Retreats be of value to them, but the fellowship we share through our experiences and our calling will be a source of comfort, inspiration, and support.
The Annual Meeting was held September 26-30 in Attleboro, Massachusetts at the Center for Christian Living. Our name change to "International Conference of War Veteran Ministers" became official and legal.
The Annual Meeting included a memorial service for our friend and Alan McLean, who died tragically in February, 2005. See the Alan McLean Memorial Page on this site.
The Pastoral Care for Trauma Survivors Project, which began with discussions between Jack Day and Harvey Harrison with Esther Giller of the Sidran Institute, culminated with publication by Sidran in February of "Risking Connection in Faith Communities: A Training Curriculum for Faith Leaders working with Trauma Survivors."
The Annual Meeting was held October 16-20 at the Vallambrosa Retreat House in Menlo Park, California, following a Spiritual Healing Retreat. Elizabeth Vermilyea, one of the co-authors of Risking Connection in Faith Communities conducted an all-day workshop introducing the curriculum to participants. An excursion was taken to the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Sacramento.
Spiritual Healing retreats were conducted in Tucson, Arizona, and Menlo Park, California.
Spiritual Healing retreats were conducted in Chicago, Illinois, and Lantana, Florida. The Annual Meeting was held in Lantana, Florida.
The Annual Meeting will be held in Metairie, Louisiana.
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