Rising up: Barksdale chapel takes on new challenges
By Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman, 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 04, 2020
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
All around the United States military, many units altered their standard operating procedures to overcome and provide services during the current health crisis. Barksdale’s chapel team is no exception.
With the well-being of Airmen and their families in mind, the chapel has continued services while implementing various procedures and standards that comply with Department of Defense and State government instructions.
“We now require face masks to be worn inside the chapel,” said Samuel Orr, 2nd Bomb Wing civilian chapel assistant. “Also, to ensure safe social distancing, rows of pews have been blocked off for additional safety.”
Although a brief pause of in-person services was mandated to decrease the spread of COVID-19, the Barksdale chapel didn’t skip a beat.
“We streamed our worship services virtually through our Facebook page and YouTube channel. Chaplain Kautzy partnered with St. Joseph Catholic Church to stream Catholic Mass using their equipment,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Michael Johnson, 2nd BW deputy wing chaplain. “We actually increased our attendance since going virtual.”
Providing Airmen and families with access to worship services is not the chapels only role. By coordinating and hosting morale events, the chapel continues to ensure the mental and spiritual well-being of Barksdale’s Airmen.
“The chapel staff was identified as mission essential to deliver full support,” Johnson said. “We provided pizzas to dorm residents every Saturday in April. We also hosted the dorm resident morale event, May the 4th Be with You, which was a hybrid physical and virtual experience that was streamed through the Barksdale Airman Ministry page. Over 400 people tuned in.”
“On top of that, we also did a virtual Ecumenical Vacation Bible Camp where families came to Chapel 2 to pick up supplies and then watched two one-hour videos online produced by both the Catholic and Protestant staff and contractors,” Johnson added.
To overcome the challenge of increased health risks to individuals and families, the chapel has provided unwavering family care and team support at work. To better build connections, the chapel has created events around the community that fostered the strengthening and building of relationships. With the challenge of communicating the commander’s intent, the chapel has created opportunities for commanders, chiefs and first sergeants to visit and engage Airmen alongside Religious Support Teams, Johnson said.
As the world continues to go through the current health crisis, the Barksdale chapel ensures that no matter the hardship the chapel is here to help Airmen get through it, together.
“When in doubt, reach out,” Johnson said. “We want to know what you need, and how we can help you get through this difficult time.”
To contact the chapel call 318-456-2111 or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/barksdalechapel