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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Watching over military families

Virginia congregations give, pray and do chores

During two Christmas tours as a Seabee (U.S. Naval Construction Force) in Bahrain and Iraq, Dave Bailey recalls “a lot of good support” from his congregation—First Lutheran, Norfolk, Va. Members sent recordings of worship services, ornaments, e-mails and care packages for Bailey to distribute to other sailors.

“There are many congregational members
“There are many congregational members who are there for us,” says Kari Stueber, pictured above with daughter, Angela. Reformation Lutheran Church, Newport News, Va., prays for safe travel when Stueber or her husband, Steven McCollum, are away on assignment. Both are Air Force master sergeants with 19 years of service.
When Army, Navy and Marine troops went Christmas caroling last year during a joint mission in Iraq, Bailey distributed angels provided by his congregation as “a sign that someone is watching over these brave, young troops.” Bailey is a Reserve lieutenant commander.

Back home, his wife, Beth, helped as well by opening her home for eight months to a pregnant friend whose husband was also on duty overseas. Beth was later named Hampton Roads [Va.] Military Spouse of the Year.

Parishioners called to check on Christine Schulman when her husband, Jeff, was sent to Kuwait, Pakistan and Iraq, she said. “I looked forward to going to church for the fellowship,” she said. “They made [deployment] better.” The family has since moved to North Carolina.


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