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CASP

CASP, Christian Aid Ministries

CASP, Christian Aid MinistriesThe Conservative Anabaptist Service Program (CASP) enables draft-age men to do alternative service in case the U.S. government would issue a military draft. This service is then reported to the United States Selective Service System. Work crews do projects such as forestry or rebuilding after natural disasters.

Most projects take place in the U.S., but groups sometimes work in other countries. One church group recently worked on a CASP project in Honduras. They built a bridge that will help improve travel in the area, especially during rainy season.

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An alternative place of service

Service, CASP, Christian Aid Ministries

In 2005, several brethren had a vision to develop a program for young Amish and Mennonite men to serve in case of a military draft. They asked CAM to help provide leadership in this endeavor. The Conservative Anabaptist Service Program (CASP) developed from this effort and launched its first pilot project in 2006.

Since then, young men work on projects approved by the Selective Service System just as if the U.S. government activated a military draft. Most of the projects involve working with park officials on forestry projects and rebuilding homes for disaster victims. Young men on the projects enjoy their time of service and benefit spiritually from it. On a recent project, a group came home early because of COVID-19 restrictions. Our staff member shared, “I think we were all disappointed that we had to come home earlier because of the coronavirus.”

Nineteen church constituencies are signed up under the CASP program and coordinating these pilot projects through CAM. Each participating church group may tailor the work projects according to their own standards, as long as the standards meet our minimum code of conduct.

After returning from a CASP project, a young man commented, “If anyone ever has the chance to go [on a CASP project], I would encourage you to go. You won’t regret it.”

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Pilot projects for conscientious objectors

After the Vietnam War, an alternative service program for conscientious objectors in America was no longer in place. This was unsettling to many conservative Anabaptist church leaders. They wondered what would happen to their young men if there would be another military draft in the United States.

Some concerned brethren approached CAM in 2005 with the idea of developing an alternative service program for draft-age men. In collaboration with these brethren, CAM worked with the United States Selective Service System to choose moral, ethical places of employment where Anabaptist young men would be allowed to serve in the case of another draft.

In 2006, the Conservative Anabaptist Service Program (CASP) launched its first pilot project. Since then, young men work on pilot projects just as if there were a draft. Most of the projects involve working with park officials on forestry projects and rebuilding for disaster victims. Records of these projects are then submitted to the United States Selective Service System.

On CASP projects, church constituencies provide oversight and guidance along with structure and spiritual functions. Now our young men have the opportunity to work in a morally sound environment approved by the U.S. government instead of a spiritually detrimental atmosphere.

Many recipients in our country are blessed through these pilot projects. The CASP volunteers from nineteen conservative Anabaptist constituencies also benefit. They form lasting friendships and grow spiritually. One volunteer shared, “I enjoyed getting to know the team as well as the flood victims and other volunteers. Many new and lasting friendships were made, and we had many spiritually up-building conversations and devotions.”

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Conservative Anabaptist Service Program

Conservative Anabaptist Service Program

CAM’s Conservative Anabaptist Service Program is approved by the Selective Service System to provide alternative places of employment for conscientious objectors. Young men serve on pilot projects just as if the U.S. government activated a military draft. They often help with rebuilding after a disaster or work on forestry projects.

Conservative Anabaptist Service Program
Jeff

On a CASP project in West Virginia, Amish volunteers built a new home for Jeff. He is pleased to have a new house free from the mold of his former flooded trailer home.