The White Falcon


The White Falcon - 08.08.1980, Blaðsíða 4

The White Falcon - 08.08.1980, Blaðsíða 4
Page 4 Aueust 8. 1980 The White Falcon Pase 5 Religious Activities STATESIDE COMMUNITIES have at least one thing in common—a common denominator. They all have, in one form or another, some form of re- ligious activity. Whether it's in the form of a Catholic Church, a Syna- gogue, or a Protestant Chapel; if you look, chances are you can find your religious preference in your community. The NATO Base is a small community and like most it offers its people religious activities. However, in our community most religious services take place in one building—The Base Chapel. The Chapel is currently staffed by five chaplains. Chaplain Sigmund Schade, Staff Chaplain Iceland Defense Force; Chaplain Thomas Benedum, Naval Station Chaplain; and Chaplain Richard Swanson, site chaplain (Hofn and Rockville), serve the Protestant sector. Catholic interests are looked after by Chaplain James Cronin, Senior Chaplain Naval Station; and Chaplain Normon Gonzalves, the Catholic Chaplain for sites. The Chaplains are aided by two enlisted Religious Program Specialists, RP1 Jay Freeman and RPSN Wendy Mitchell, who accomplish administrative duties, prepare the chapel for services, conduct training classes, manage the chapel's cost center, and order supplies. They also have respon- sibility for upkeep of the building. "We are understaffed in comparison to other bases of our size," said Chaplain Thomas Benedum. "The usual ratio is one chaplain for every 800 As a religflls, sjBltual and social base, the Chapel can be a meaningful part of our lives people, but because two of our chaplains are at sites one third of their time, we are usually understaffed for base services." "We try to be flexible so that as many denominations as possible can be served." Currently services offered are: Catholic Masses at 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 9:00 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. on Sundays. In addition, Catholic masses are held daily at 11:45 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. and a special mass is offered each Sunday at the USO at 11:30 a.m., enabling BEQ resi- dents and shiftworkers the opportunity to attend a Mass. For the Protes- tant members two services are held on Sunday at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Also, a Friday morning prayer breakfast is held each week at 6:30 a.m. A Jewish service is held at 7 p.m. on Fridays at the Chapel, Mormons meet weekly at the lower school, and the Lutherans meet monthly in the chapel. "Smaller groups meet in private quarters and conduct their own ser- vices," Chaplain Benedum explained, "but we are making strong attempts to bring these smaller groups back into the chapel and avoid duplication of services. Personnel are free to hold private services in their quarters. However, we hope to facilitate more worship services so that won't be necessary. A few of the smaller groups take part in our Sunday evening service and their participa^j^^idds greatJ^fco that fellowship." In addition to normally fl Aled scn^B ^ypecial counseling sessions can be arranged for pre-mar^^^Wdiscussi^^^Warital problems, or just about any other reason. Acc^lmng to ChapS^h Benedum service members are required to take part in pre-marital sessions prior to being married by the Icelandic Government. While the chaplain cannot perform the actual wedding ceremony, he can offer a second service, in which the marriage is blessed and friends and family can participate. "Personnel serving in remote overseas areas are subject to a lot of pressures," Chaplain Benedum said. "Depression, closed in feelings, sep- eration from family, and marriage difficulties are common problems that we deal with. We feel we can offer objective help and advice for personnel who are experiencing personal crisis in their lives. We hope it's easier to talk with us than say, a section leader about a personal problem." A unique aspect to military services is the chaplain himself, who in addition to being a spiritual leader is a commissioned officer. Chaplain Benedum explained that this can be advantageous at times and a handicap occasionally. "People, I feel are at ease with us once they get to know us on a one-to-one basis, but there is always that initial shock of seeing the rank insignias on our collars." "The rank can be an asset if we are trying to help someone who is re- luctant to help themselves. When a chaplain asks you to do something, you might put it on the back burner and forget about it, but people tend to act quicker when an officer asks." Chaplains are not immune to problems—in fact the chaplains are ex- periencing a problem now that they hope will improve in time—that prob- lem is attendance. According to Chaplain Benedum only 10 to 15 percent of PHOTOS—(counter clockwise from upper left) Chaplain Frederick ttarray, who leaves soon for Rota Spain, celebrates Catholic A6ss at the USO; a puppet shew is featured for the man^^hildren tha^oarticipated in the suimier Vaca- tion Bible School; Chaplain^t ^mnd Schad^t ^rs' a prayer at the Sunday mor- ning Protestant service; and^M Uiin Thoi^t Hedum counsels two service mem- bers during a pre-marital sesstKK ^^^^ the base population actively takes part in services and chapel functions. He cites shift working, duty and location of the chapel as a few reasons for the low attendance figures. If plans go as scheduled, the chapel location could be improved in two or three years. "There is a proposed chapel project which is at the Con- gressional funding stage," Chaplain Benedum explained. "An architect and a representative from the Chief of Chaplains Office were here in June scouting the best location for the project. The primary site is across from the upper school and between the Commissary and the Gymnasium." "That is the ideal location—it would take us from the fringe of the base and put us in a more central location, which would be more accessible for all personnel. And once the project is completed, the upper school could be used for some of our auxiliary chapel groups, such as CCD and Sunday School." The Chapel offers a wide variety of auxiliary programs: the Catholic Women of the Parish; Catholic Mens Group; Protestant Women of the Chapel; and a choir for both adults and children. Also, a retreat is planned for women to Hvitarbakki and attempts are being made to form a chapel youth group. Thus as a religious, spiritual and social base, the chapel activities can be a meaningful part of our lives.


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