NORMAN — The First Baptist Church of Norman, 211 W. Comanche St., will host a free clergy training event May 2.
The event is sponsored by the National Veterans Administration Chaplain Center, the Veterans Health Administration Office of Rural Health and the Cooperating Baptist Fellowship of Oklahoma.
The one-day workshop educates clergy about how they can support veterans and their families through the readjustment process when soldiers return home from deployment. Often, veterans have limited choices for health care and counseling services when they need help.
In addition, the fear and stigma associated with mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, can reduce a veteran’s motivation to seek care until crisis makes it unavoidable. When that moment arrives, many veterans turn first to their local pastor, chaplain or clergy.
The workshop is an opportunity to educate and equip local clergy and chaplains on ways to help veterans. The training topics include the readjustment challenges veterans and families face following deployment(s), the spiritual and psychological effects of war trauma on survivors, VA benefits and services available to veterans, how to connect with the VA to make a referral or get information, and the role of community in helping reduce stigmas associated with returning home.
Seating is limited and the event is open to clergy of all faith groups, as well as non-VA chaplains and representatives from Veterans Service Organizations. Registration can be made at www.ruralhealth.va.gov/clergytraining or by calling Jim Goalder at 1-800-737-3116. Clergy needing continuing education credit can enroll for a minimal fee by calling Goalder.
Check-in begins at 8 a.m. and the workshop should conclude by 4 p.m. Lunch is provided for participants.