Veteran Friendly Congregation Initiative Launch Press Release


CONTACT:  Chaplain Dennis Lovin, Fred Owens                             CONTACT PHONE:  865-336-2624

Knoxville, Tennessee – On May 1st, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett helped to launch a new Veteran’s program called Veterans Friendly Congregation Initiative.  In his remarks at the Knox County Community Action Committee Center, Mayor Burchett stated his support for VFCI during the When War Comes Home Forum, “My father fought with the United States Marine Corps and my uncle died fighting in World War II, so helping those who have fought for their country is an extremely important mission for me.”

More than 100 members from 60 different churches and area veteran friendly organizations attended the moving ceremony.

Remembering our fallen heroes and George Thomas our spiritual leader
Remembering our fallen heroes and George  Thomas our spiritual leader

Twenty-two veterans representing all branches of  military service participated in the opening candle light ceremony, each carrying a lighted candle to symbolize the fact that 22 returning veterans die of suicide every day due to military related causes.

Dr. Ed King, featured keynote speaker for the event, is the founder and senior pastor of Redemption Church, a thriving community service congregation located in Knoxville.  Dr. King addressed the specific needs of returning veterans along with the special concerns of their families and urged the clergy in attendance to ramp up their support by partnering with VFCI.

“It was wonderful to have Chaplains from Army and Air Force Guard units give us their perspective and ask our community to assist in helping families with soldiers and airmen who are now in harm’s way for all of us” stated Chaplain Dennis Lovin, VFCI Co-Chairman. Chaplain Lovin and VFCI Chairman Fred Owens are coordinating efforts with business, civic and congregational leaders to put in place a structured program to identify and assist veterans and their families.  In cooperation with CareForTheTroops ( , VFCI members expect to impact more than 50,000 returning veterans and their families in the coming year.

We received a tremendous amount of feedback from the Forum attendees. After reviewing the VFCI Forum Feedback Report 6-1-14, please let us know how we can better serve your church or organization.

We have enclosed a VFC registration form for those of you that didn’t complete the one at the forum or if you have read our material and are ready to join. If you have a questions regarding it’s completion please use the contact either Freddie Owens or Dennis Lovin.

The main goal of VFCI is to partner with veteran friendly congregations to identify attending veterans and put in place support programs which address their unique and special needs as military veterans. For more information about the Veteran Friendly Congregation, please visit  or call 865-336-2624.


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