Like many churches in San Diego, St. Michael’s has a deep connection with the U.S. Armed Forces. Many long-time parishioners have served, a substantial number retired from active duty. We also have a population of parishioners currently serving who join us as transients, periodically returning when assignments bring them back to Southern California.

That was our family’s experience. St. Michael’s was our first Episcopal church when I was a Captain in 1982. We came back to Camp Pendleton when I was promoted to Major General in 2010, and we immediately returned to St. Michael’s.

Here’s another example. I have had the pleasure of seeing Lieutenant Colonel Karen Brockmier’s family grow throughout the years at St. Michael’s, having first met her when she was a Captain in Northern Virginia nearly 20 years ago.

St. Michael’s was and continues to be a welcoming congregation, a parish that has understood us. Our faith has always been important to us as a family, the message of salvation with some consistency, even as our churches changed as we changed locations. God and the practice of our faith have been a foundation and continuity in our lives, and the churches we have attended understood and have helped provide that to us.

We need to remind ourselves that many who sit in our pews and frequent our activities are not typical parish members. Even compared to other professions that frequently cause families to move, our military families have the burden of extended separations including the risks associated with the wars of the last 15 years. They outwardly may exhibit that which we view as normal, but their ‘normal’ is unlike any other.

As we get caught up in the demands and normalcy of our lives, I ask everyone to stay in touch with the needs of our military families, especially the needs to support and provide some continuity in their lives. Thankfully we all experience support and continuity through the many blessings offered at St. Michael’s, feeling the presence of our Lord and Savior in our midst.

Support our veterans at St. Michael’s Foreign and Domestic Mission Ministry for the 7th Annual Wine Tasting and Italian Dinner Fundraiser, October 14 at 6:00 pm. All proceeds go to the Veteran’s Association of North County. Buy your tickets online today!

Written by Vestry Member Mel Spiese, United States Marine Corps Major General (retired).