Team Robins Ministerial Alliance forms, offers spiritual care

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
Now that the Robins Ministerial Alliance has organized, momentum has picked up on several fronts to help offer spiritual care to civilian and military airmen across the installation.

The effort, a result of a Clergy Day Summit conducted earlier this year, is unlike anything else in the Air Force, and has support at all levels when it comes to proactive measures in preventing suicides among those who live and work among us.

The summit's event was part of a pilot program for creating and furthering relationships between the base and local clergy and community faith-based organizations.

"The Robins Ministerial Alliance is a broad-based alliance of faith-based organizations whose single focus is making sure that airmen on base have spiritual care," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Jonathan Wade, installation chaplain. 

The alliance, which is open to all faith groups, has met three times since February, when the summit drew about 90 local clergy members, military and community representatives from across Middle Georgia. Representing the alliance's current membership are 30 to 40 organizations who are all dedicated to supporting the Robins workforce and Air Force culture of being a wingman to others in need.

While the Air Force's Comprehensive Airmen Fitness Program includes mental, physical and social pillars, there was a need to offer more when it came to its spiritual pillar - all four pillars are essential to the resiliency of airmen.

"Most people who are networked have a support base," continued Wade. "The biggest concern and the reason why we're doing this is to try to decrease the number of suicides by increasing the networking available across those four pillars."

Wade said there was a lack of referral sources for civilians under the spiritual pillar of CAF, which the RMA seeks to fill by offering a network of spiritual opportunities should they be needed. Nothing is forced on anyone - it is readily available to anyone should they choose to seek information. 

"We are really at the cutting edge of providing spiritual care opportunities for civilian airmen so that this pillar is covered," he said. 

During the RMA's most recent meeting this week, working subgroups met and continued discussion on individual roles. 

These working group memberships included clergy members on a lead team; communications; the Civilian Airmen Resource Exchange, or C.A.R.E. website - currently with a link on the 21st Century Partnership's site which offers resources on various types of ministries and services, and is open to any faith-based organization; and a mobilizing civilian airmen team.

This last team will help to reach out to faith-based groups within a 50-miles radius of Robins who may have someone in their congregations with ties to the base, and offer training so additional resources can be provided to empower civilians and military to be wingmen. 

"Their job is to give information so that we can build wingman behavior. When someone is back in the unit, and they see someone in crisis, these people can provide resources and faith-based options so they can get care," Wade said. 

Other topics covered included publicity tools to spread the word on the alliance's mission, how community organizations can join the alliance, what the   alliance offers, its goals, and participation in base and community events.

As the alliance continues to grow, among its initiatives is to develop an on-call clergy team to provide a means for immediate crisis care for both civilians and military that need spiritual care from clergy. This will be an endeavor owned by AFGE Local 987. Still in its infancy, the goal will be to offer anyone requesting crisis assistance to meet with a member of the clergy in dedicated office space on base. 

Another goal is to become a non-profit organization, which would allow opportunities to perform public-public, public-private partnerships with Robins. 

The alliance is next scheduled to participate in Triple Ribbon Month events and a 2016 Clergy Day Summit. 

As more information becomes available during the next several months - particularly on membership, activities and ongoing endeavors - it will be posted in the Robins Rev-Up and Robins' social media outlets.