by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

Episcopal Church Women, in partnership with National Episcopal Health Ministries, are excited to announce the First Triennial Meeting 5K Walk/Run.

Sunday, July 8, 2012 6:30 AM

All proceeds benefit the John P. Craine House, Indianapolis, IN, a work-release facility for non-violent female offenders and their preschool-aged children. Participation is open to all ECW Triennial delegates and alternates, General Convention delegates and alternates, and the House of Bishops, as well as visitors and friends. Walk or run in the cool morning along this scenic waterway, and finish in plenty of time to attend the United Thank Offering Eucharist later that morning.



  • $25 if pre-registered prior to June 1st, 2012
  • $35 after June 1st, 2012 at Triennial Meeting or Race Day
  • Your commemorative T-shirt is included in the registration cost. Click this link to download and print the registration form: TM 5K Run Walk Registration

Sponsored by:


The Society for the Increase of the Ministry

155 years of support for seminarians preparing for ordained leadership.


by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

Conference planning is coming right along, and we have reason to believe this year will be the best NEHM conference yet (although previous years are becoming hard to top!)  If you have already registered for this year's conference taking place May 10-12 at the DeKoven Center in Racine, WI then we can't wait to see you! If you haven't yet registered, what are you waiting for??

Tell us what workshops you plan to attend!

We would like to know what workshops you are looking forward to attending. Please click here and fill out the workshops form. Be sure to click 'Submit' at the bottom! 

More workshop information

Would you like more information about the workshops? Are you unsure about attending and looking for more information? Click here to see details on our workshop offerings, including the presenters and objectives for each session. 

We are really excited about this year's offerings and looking forward to seeing everyone again!

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

The following presentation was made at the March 2012 meeting of the House of Bishops by Bishop Jay Magness, Bishop to Armed Services and Federal Ministry. NEHM will be presenting a veterans' ministry mini-conference at the Seasons of Health Ministry conference in May. 

This week our meditation speakers, particularly Katharine and Julio, have talked about and challenged us to increase our focus upon and engagement with Christian mission. This afternoon, for the next few minutes, I want to talk about an opportunity to do just that.

Make no mistake about it, this is a sacrificial mission. The liklihood that it will add names to parish roles or make substantial contributions to your capital campaigns is relatively slim. However, as Julio read in the 4th chapter of the Gospel of Luke this morning, the opportunity to address the spirit of bringing good news to the poor, proclaiming release to the captives, recovery of sight for the blind, and proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor really is rather great (Luke 4.18-19 [paraphrased]). Let me explain.

Two years ago at Camp Allen a majority of those of you who are here this afternoon elected me to this episcopacy: Armed Services and Federal Ministry. At that time it was crystal clear to me that your major charge was to take care of and be a good pastor to the men and women who serve as Episcopal chaplains. By extension, I understood your charge as a call to maintain a focus upon the care of servicemembers, their families and veterans.

Today the equivalent of a tsunami, a tsunami largely unseen by most of us, is occuring with many of the people for whom I am responsible. In my adult life there have been three significant occurrances of what Department of Defense planners call, using one of their nonsense phrases, "build-downs." I don't exactly know how you "build down," but that is what they call it when they reduce the number of people on active duty and the Guard and Reserves. The first build-down was in the early 1970s, the second was in the 1980s and the third is now. I know something about these build-downs. In January 1970 I had just been discharged from active-duty in the Navy. I was broke and for almost four months was unemployed. Had it not been for the largess of my parents, who gave me a place to live and food to eat, it is quite possible that I would have been homeless and living in the back seat of my car. I was one of the more fortunate ones. Ultimately I got a job, went back to school and found a new life. Not all of my fellow Vietnam veterans had it so good.

Today the Department of Defense is in the process of another major build-down. Thousands and thousands of men and women are being discharged from the military services. By and large, unless you seek them out, in most of the cities and towns within our dioceses these men and women will be invisible. They will blend right in with other people their age. However, the statistics show that the veteran population is experiencing a much larger portion of the hardships and challenges being experienced by their peers. For example, within the community of serving Reserve and National Guard members they have as high as a 37% unemployment rate?

What Can You Do to Break the Pattern?

On your tables you will find copies of a book entitled "Welcome Them Home." These books were donated free of charge to us by National Episcopal Health Ministries. In the book there are numerous ideas and thoughts about what you can do and what your people can do. My strongest request is that if for some reason you are not able to lead the offering of assistance to service members, veterans, and to members of their families, find someone who is, and give them this book. Just briefly, here are some of the actions you can take:

  • Identify the Active-duty, Guard and Reserve service members in your congregations.
  • Develop ways to care for and stay in touch with the deployed or mobilized service member.
  • When a service member deploys or mobilizes, reach out to the family members at home.
  • Be mindful of emotional dynamics of repeated deployments and its effect on children.
  • Become familiar with community resources available through such organizations as the VFW, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans, all excellent sources of assistance when filing VA disability claims.
  • When appropriate engage the assistance of national organizations such as Care For the Troops:
  • Recognize that potentially unemployment and post traumatic stress is a deadly combination - literally deadly.

Know that homeless has become a huge problem for veterans. On this past Veterans Day, November 11, 2011, a research organization named Monarch Housing Group in New Jersey released the following information:

  • 35 out of every 10,000 veterans are homeless.
  • On a single night in January 2010, over 76,000 veterans were living in emergency shelters, in transitional housing, or in an unsheltered places –on the streets, in cars, or in abandoned buildings.
  • During a 12-month period between October 2009 and September 2010, an estimated 145,000 veterans spent at least one night in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs, accounting for 11.5 percent of all homeless adults.
  • Become familiar with the 100,000 Homes Campaign: a national movement in over 100 communities working together to find permanent homes for the most long-term and vulnerable homeless Americans, a significant number of whom are veterans.

This information is in the book or at our website:

In closing I want to to briefly share a recent experience with you. Last week in Atlanta I attended a presentation by Major General Richard Stone, the Deputy Surgeon General of the United States Army. His presentation on "Suicide and Mental Health among Service Members" was being given to the senior leaders of the Army Chaplain Corps, and as a supporter of those chaplains, I was invited to attend. Dr. Stone began by saying that he needed to pause for a moment to collect his thoughts, having just finished a conference call with his colleagues and superiors about the recent Afghanistan incident in which a soldier allegedly murdered 16 civilians. Dr. Stone apologized for his anger and said that he needed to be focused upon his presentation. But what was the anger all about? After another pause, Dr. Stone went on to describe his committment to finding a way to ensure that we never, ever again put so few of our fellow citizens, those who wear the uniform of our Armed Services, in such jeopardy - and then abandon them during their greatest hour of need. I quote, "We have never asked for so much from so few."

I know that in your dioceses many of you are engaged in important outreach programs that are changing the lives of our wounded warriors. Thank you for your work. I pray that you will continue to pursue these good efforts - and - also find even more ways to creatively welcome home the disenfranchaized, bind up the broken hearted, heal those who mourn and give to those who think their lives are over a taste of the new life that our Lord offers them. Thank you.

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

Veterans Flyer in pdf

Welcome Them Home - Help Them Heal:
Tapping the Collective Wisdom of the Parish

Keynote by John Sippola, author of:

Click here to register for the full conference

Click here to register for veterans mini-conference ONLY

Friday May 11, 2012
10 am to 4 pm
Dekoven Center, Racine WI
During Seasons of Health Ministry Conference


Registration: 9 am to 10 am
Keynote Address: 10 -12
Rev. John Sippola, M.Div. LTC, Chaplain – ret.


Session 1 – Needs of Women Veterans
Rev. Joanne Skidmore, Lt Col USAF Retired

Session 2 – Implementing programs in your faith community
Rev. John Sippola, M.Div. LTC, Chaplain – ret.

Cost for event, materials and lunch $35
There is no charge for those attending the full conference.
CEU’s only available to those attending the full conference.

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/eppn-lent-reflection-a-broken-system">EPPN Lent Reflection: A broken system</a></h1>

[Episcopal Public Policy Network] The reflection this week comes from Matthew Ellis, CEO of National Episcopal Health Ministries and executive director of National Episcopal AIDS Coalition and Episcopal Community Services in America.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done:
for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our
indifference to injustice and cruelty,
Accept our repentance, Lord. (The Litany of Penitence, BCP)

As I reflect on the Litany of Repentance, I think about our nation’s struggle to find a solution to rising health care costs. As Christians, we are called to a ministry of healing. Unfortunately, our current health care system often fails to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our society.

In my own life, several people close to me have delayed seeking medical treatment within the last year due in large part to fear of cost.

One friend had a quintuple bypass that saved his life. Even though he had not been feeling well and his doctor had suggested additional tests, he waited until midnight of his eligibility date for Medicare before finally going to the emergency room. It was only upon waking after emergency surgery that he realized how close he had come to never seeing his family again.

A single father delayed additional tests for possible colon cancer because he was between jobs and without insurance. Thankfully, he eventually found work and was able to get the tests that ultimately proved negative.

These stories of delayed treatment due to cost (actual or perceived) are not uncommon. In a society where the ability to access health care is too often dependent on our employment status, it is self-evident that the most vulnerable among us will often be discouraged or outright prevented from seeking treatment for illness or disease, not to mention preventive care.

This inability to access routine health care means that many place a tremendous burden on the health care system by seeking treatment in the most expensive ways — whether it be a trip to the emergency room for non-emergency treatment or delaying care until an illness that could have been easily treated earlier becomes a legitimate emergency. This has a cascading effect in our society via the impact on family, employment and additional cost of care, among others.
When our health care system’s ability to take care of those who need help is determined primarily by an individual’s financial means at that moment, then it is broken and must be repaired as a moral imperative.

Faithful Reform in Health Care has identified the following vision for our health care system. Their vision is that our system will be:

  • Inclusive: Health care is a shared responsibility that is grounded in our common humanity.
  • Affordable: Health care must contribute to the common good by being affordable for individuals, families and society as a whole.
  • Accessible: All persons should have access to health services that provide necessary care and contribute to wellness.
  • Accountable: Our health care system must be accountable, offering a quality, equitable and sustainable means of keeping us healthy as individuals and as a community.

General Convention Resolutions:

  • 1994-A057 Adopt Church Principles on Access to Health Care
  • 1991-A099 Call for a System of Universal Access to Health Care
  • 2000-A078 Call on Lawmakers and Physicians to Provide Adequate and Comprehensive Hospice and Palliative Care

5 Facts About the Uninsured:

  • Most of the nation’s 49.1 million uninsured are low- or moderate-income.
  • More than three-quarters of the uninsured are in a working family.
  • Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) prevent more people, particularly children, from becoming uninsured.
  • About one-quarter of uninsured adults go without needed care due to cost compared to only four percent of those with private insurance.
  • Medical bills are a burden for the uninsured and frequently leave them with debt.