Holy Joe's Café has supported U.S. military chaplains since its origin at a UCC church in Wallingford, CT in 2006. The organization provides coffee to military chaplains to help them make connections with active-duty military personnel. The simple act of providing coffee to soldiers gives chaplains a comforting way to reach out to troops and often initiates conversations that might not have occurred in the regular daily routine, giving these troops a place to talk, share concerns, and get guidance that can help keep them mentally and spiritually healthier in their work.
The duties of military chaplain are broad and go beyond religious practices. Chaplains pray with units and provide them with a way to share their concerns about the home front or their deployed situation. Chaplains also report to leadership on troop morale. The armed forces acknowledge moral leadership as critical support for troops, and chaplains take a large part in this development. Chaplains also are the main contact for troops who wish to practice their religion. Military chaplains are not restricted to members of their own denomination, which provides all troops with a place to hold conversations of a spiritual nature.
“As an ordained UCC minister and an Air Force chaplain the ministry we do amongst our troops is a critical one. We help to spiritually ground their deepest fears, anxieties, and hopes with compassionate accompaniment,” said United Church of Christ Air Force Chaplain Ryan Tyler-Byers.
Tom Jastermsky, Founder and Executive Director of Holy Joe's, says that with the rapid deployment of troops to Europe in response to the Russia–Ukraine conflict, the need to get coffee supplies to these deployed troops is urgent. Holy Joe's regularly provides coffee to hundreds of chaplains at bases around the world, but changes in deployment require logistical plans to move coffee where it is needed.
"It's not enough," said Jastermsky speaking about the current supplies and shipping schedules. "The chaplains have their hands totally full."
UCC churches have a long history of supporting Holy Joe's. More information on how to assist with this ministry can be found on the Holy Joe's Café website.
Tom Jastermsky can be reached at 203-859-0031.
More Conference Stories About Holy Joe's Café:
Holy Joe's Cafe: A Coffee Ministry (2008)
Holy Joe's Thrives on New Donations (2011)
Holy Joe's Café: 10 Years and Still Serving Soldiers (2016)
Holy Joe's Cafe: 15 Years and Growing (2021)
More stories on the Holy Joe's Press page
Drew Page is the Media and Data Manager for the Southern New England Conference, and a member of the Conference's Communications Team. He writes and edits news, blogs, and devotionals, produces video, and spends a week each summer as a Dean at Silver...