Front-Line Worker Support
When I arrived, she was screaming at the officer, and had even attacked him. I was proud of the officer. He kept a cool head. He told her, “I know you are upset. I know this is a difficult situation. This is the chaplain. If you will talk to him, I’m going to forget that you assaulted an officer.”
Chaplains serve the public, helping both the individual and the one in authority, by bringing a caring heart. Chaplains are the hands and feet of Jesus, walking wherever there is pain. Most Front-Line Workers also have a caring heart, but often they can’t express it as directly, because they are busy providing protection, stopping a problem, controlling the situation, and providing life-saving care.
Institutional Ministries is a liaison to your congregation, to provide help in reaching people behind walls. You probably don’t think of Front-Line Workers as people behind walls. Neither do they. That’s part of what makes it so hard for them to reach out for help when they, themselves, are in need. Being a Front-Line Worker makes one especially susceptible to moral injury and PTSD. If you have built a relationship with them in the past, it greatly increases the likelihood they will seek you out when they have need.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Romans 14:17-18
Have You Thanked Them?
Have you thanked them lately for keeping a cool head when others let emotions rule, and for running into the very situations from which most of us would flee?
Your congregation probably did a lot of evangelism planning around Easter. One of your goals was community awareness. The month of May is a perfect opportunity to carry that to another step, both serving those who serve you, while providing powerful community awareness for your church.
May 1-7: Public Service Recognition Week Correctional Officer Appreciation Week
May 1-31: Military Appreciation Month
May 4: International Firefighters Day (Permanent)
May 6: National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day
Military Spouse Appreciation Day
National Nurses Day (permanent)
May 6-10: National Nurses Week
May 11-27: National Police Week
May 15-23: EMS Week
May 21: Armed Forces Day (Saturday)
May 30 & 31: Memorial Day
October 28: National First Responders Day (Permanent)
It's Not Too Late to Support First Responders
You may be thinking that it is too late this year, but think again. You can start small – even if it is only a prayer in church – and flesh it out more for the following year, building consistency into your plan.
What are some ways that you might be a servant to those who serve? To find out, interview them. Find out what would work for them and what they might appreciate most.
- Fundraise and buy needed equipment.
- Do a barbeque or other lunch. Invite both the First Responders and those they serve.
- Provide store-bought goodies for their break room.
- Give them gift cards for pizza with their family.
- The possibilities are as varied as your community, the group you want to recognize this year, and their respective situation.
You could also turn this into an educational situation. Institutional Ministries can provide a discussion on helping people with addiction, grief, moral injury, and PTSD. It is a great way to promote community awareness of the difficulty of the First-Responder’s job, while offering future support.
Would you like to get your local school involved or even your children?
Institutional Ministries has created thank you cards to help our communities support Front-Line Workers.
There are two different designs for each card. The Little Kid (LK) design has a message already written and the Big Kid (BK) design allows the child to write their own message of thanks.
These cards are meant to be printed on 8.5x11 paper, back-to-back.
Please sign the cards with your organization’s name so the First Responders can identify and acknowledge who they are from.
When finished, please drop these cards off at your local Fire Departments, Police Departments, EMS Stations and/or Hospitals.