GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- The Netzaberg chapel and its 115-foot tower overlooking the Bavarian village is U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria's brand new landmark. The wave-like facade and interior curved design elements reflect the chapel's Upper Palatinate surroundings.
Many U.S. and German military officials, religious and community members and local leaders attended the official dedication ceremony here Feb. 3, 2017.
Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese for Military Services Richard Spencer, Regensburg Bishop Dr. Rudolf Voderholzer, USAG Bavaria Chaplain Col. Kevin Pies and Installation Management Command Europe Chaplain Col. James Watson were among the dignitaries at the dedication. Commander of the 7th Army Training Command Gen. Antonio Aguto, USAG Bavaria Garrison Commander Col. Lance Varney and Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe Col. Mathew R. Tyler were also present to support the ceremony.
The new chapel, which replaces the aged one located on the garrison main post, is scheduled to begin offering worship services in March, said Garrison Chaplain Col. Pies.
While the old Grafenwoehr chapel holds about 180 people, the Netzaberg chapel's main room accommodates nearly 600 people. The space can also be divided into two rooms. Additional classrooms and child care rooms are also available.
The $16.5 million project is the new home for many denominations. Plus, new features will accommodate more people and services.
"May it be a place of activity, of life and a facility of hope," said Garrison Commander Col. Varney. "May it be a place that strengthens our community."
Varney also espoused the chapel as a space of spiritual readiness.
"USAG Bavaria is described as a power projection platform. Well, this chapel is a power projection platform for faith and resilience," said Varney. "Let this chapel serve as a platform to strengthen our spiritual readiness."
Pies thanked everybody involved in the construction of the symbolic structure.
"This is the BMW of the churches," Pies said.
U.S. Army Europe Woodwind Quartet and Mr. Benno Engelhart and his ensemble performed at the dedication ceremony.