Frontier Chapel serves expanding congregation
October 15, 2010
- Frontier Chapel will officially be dedicated Oct. 18, but the new facility already has a steady congregation - and it's growing.
- Attendance is up at all Religious Support programs and the pews are packed at Sunday worship services.
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Oct. 14, 2010) - Frontier Chapel will officially be dedicated Oct. 18, but the new facility already has a steady congregation - and it's growing. Attendance is up at all Religious Support programs and the pews are packed at Sunday worship services. On any given Sunday, around nine services take place across Fort Leavenworth. Other services throughout the week include Bible studies, counseling, religious education, music ministries, Vacation Bible School and more.
"The pews and halls stay filled throughout the week," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Thompson, Fort Leavenworth Garrison chaplain.
Thompson said the Command Master Religious Program - which encompasses all religious services on post, including those at Pioneer, Frontier and Memorial chapels - is comparable to those at large installations such as Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Lewis, Wash.
In fact, nearly 70 worship services are offered each month, with more than 4,400 people attending. Thompson estimates the annual attendance was more than 160,000 in 2009, and the CMRP budget is increasing with the growth of all the congregations. Fiscal Year 2010 had a budget of $856,000; FY 2011 will likely surpass $1 million. The majority of this money comes from tithes and offerings, he said.
"Fort Leavenworth population growth and the stress and strain on Army families from this persistent conflict, requires growth in our Religious Support program," Thompson said.
Before the new chapel was built, religious classes were held at Cook Hall, Munson Army Health Center and the Patch School-Age Services building. For the first time, all Sunday morning religious education programs are conducted at the chapel complex.
"The new facility allows our ministries to grow and meet more needs in the Fort Leavenworth community," said Protestant Women of the Chapel President Kyla Winterle. "I get to see how much God can do for our community. As we have more space, the more people can come and we can offer more ministries."
Anyone interested in the PWOC program can contact Winterle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Religious Support program is comparatively as diverse and comprehensive as any large post in the Army and is managed by a relatively small staff, according to Thompson.
"That's why our volunteer program is so significant," Thompson said.
Thompson believes there are a couple reasons why such a small Army post has such a successful Religious Support program.
"Mental and emotional fitness are at the forefront of the Army, and religious background plays a significant role in the well-being of Army families and more importantly, Fort Leavenworth trains the future leaders of the Army," he said.
According to Army Regulation 165-1, "the Army recognizes that religion is constitutionally protected and does not favor one form of religious expression over another. Therefore, all religious denominations are viewed as distinctive faith groups and all Soldiers are entitled to chaplain services and support ... Religious services conducted in military chapels and facilities are largely for military personnel and authorized civilians."
Anyone interested in any of the Religious Support programs, go to http://garrison.leavenworth.army.mil or call 684-2210.
The Frontier Chapel dedication ceremony is at 1 p.m. Oct. 18 in the main sanctuary and will recognize those who made the project happen.