By Sgt. Jennifer SpikerFebruary 12, 2016
FORT MEADE, Md. - On any given battle assembly at the 200th Military Police (MP) Command, you'll find soldiers attending religious services with command chaplain Col. Michael Cannon, signing up for a Strong Bonds retreat or seeking the help of one of the dedicated chaplain's assistants. It's how the command's leadership extends the care of its soldiers beyond their physical needs and provides a means to meet their spiritual needs as well.
"I think it's an outlet for soldiers," said Sgt. Gylian Paige, a chaplain's assistant with the 200th MP Command, "and a comfort for soldiers to have something they are used to back home."
Service is normally held on Sunday in a room near the chaplain's office. When asked why she attends, Capt. Nebra Singleton says it "continues to renew hope and motivation in my mind and renews strength through the week."
Although there is currently one faith tradition represented at the religious service, the leadership and chaplain's office is committed to supporting soldiers of all faith traditions.
"We support every single denomination that we possibly can," said Sgt. 1st Class Frederick Cohen. "We might not have the resources in this office, but if you tell us, 'I am part of faith group A,' we will go out of our way to support that soldier."
In addition to offering religious services, the chaplain's office also offers counseling to soldiers regardless of what the issue may be.
"Chaplains always have an open door for counsel and advice for any life issue regardless if it's personal or professional," said Col. Michael Cannon, the command chaplain for the 200th MP Command. To soldiers wary of seeking counsel for fear it could reflect negatively on their reputation or career, Cannon assures them that "chaplains are bound by strict confidentiality."
The chaplain's office services also include Strong Bonds - retreats for single soldiers and soldiers with families held at various facilities and locations, such as Disney World. Strong Bond retreats focus on educating single soldiers and soldiers with families on how to build and maintain positive relationships in their lives.
"We're going to give you a three-day vacation and you have to sit through my sales pitch on why your relationship is worth it. And why it's worth it for you to put effort and to put a good fight into maintaining your positive relationships," said Cohen.
The Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) commanding general, Maj. Gen. Phillip Churn, ensures that time is set aside for religious services at the 200th MP Command battle assembly "no matter how busy we are," said Cohen.
To take advantage of all that the chaplain's office has to offer, soldiers are encouraged to contact one of the chaplain's assistants.