Build up the body of Christ. Support the Pentecost Offering.

Self-Development of People’s discussion forum to delve into the plight of veterans living in poverty and how churches can help

Register now to learn about activism and relationship-building in the latest ‘The Struggle is Real’ webinar

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

Photo by Dimi Katsavaris via Unsplash

LOUISVILLE — How to help veterans who are affected by poverty and intersectional issues will be the focus of the next webinar in “The Struggle is Real” series hosted by the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People.

The 90-minute webinar will be from 2 p.m. through 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time on May 16 and will feature a panel discussion with these guests:

  • The Rev. Dr. Hope Italiano Lee, pastor of Vienna Presbyterian Church (VPC) in Virginia.
  • Tom Portman, military ministry leader at VPC.
  • Shawn Duncan, a veteran with Caridad Gardens, an SDOP-funded project in Las Vegas.
  • Wendy C. McClinton, a veteran who’s president and chief executive officer of Black Veterans for Social Justice (BVSJ) in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Bill Nisbet of Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincies, a partner organization of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta. He’s a veteran and a retired Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastor.

Congregations and other viewers “can expect to gain best practices and deeper insight about poverty and its impact on veterans,” said the Rev. Dr. Alonzo Johnson, SDOP’s coordinator. “It is clear that churches need to be in conversation about the economic treatment of veterans and the ways that they can be involved.”

The Rev. Dr. Alonzo Johnson (Photo by Rich Copley)

Viewers will be given the opportunity “to ask questions and more importantly, connect with the panel guests” during the webinar, which will stress the importance of relationship building and developing partnerships, Johnson said.

Viewers also will hear how Caridad Gardens is helping formerly homeless veterans to empower themselves through job skills training and mental/emotional wellness programs. Each gardener receives a small stipend for growing produce that is used by the group and sold to local restaurants. The group receives training on how to grow and market its crops. BVSJ is a non-profit, community-based organization that assists veterans, their families and community members.

“The Struggle is Real” webinar series strives to promote “poverty engagement and intentional action by churches stepping outside their walls to form relationships and live out loving their neighbors,” which aligns with the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Matthew 25 invitation, Johnson said.

In that same vein, the upcoming webinar will be promoting “presence and activism, as well as exploring and learning ways to take concrete actions to eradicate poverty and its impact on veterans,” Johnson said.

“The Struggle is Real” has been warmly received by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its partners since the discussion forums began in 2021.

“We discern that there is an urgency and a hunger to learn from our community partners and fellow Presbyterians who are engaged in the work of ministry in ways that can be helpful to our participants,” Johnson said. “We also hope that this series helps promote connectional relationship among churches who are both interested or already engaged in the work connected to the given subjects.”

Go here to register for the May 16 webinar. To view recordings of other webinars in “The Struggle is Real” series, go here.

Self-Development of People is one of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Its work is made possible by your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

  • Subscribe to the PC(USA) News

  • Interested in receiving either of the PC(USA) newsletters in your inbox?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.