By Derek Gean (Leonard Wood)November 9, 2017
The Fort Leonard Wood Religious Support Office is set to resume worship services in Specker Chapel at 11 a.m. Sunday.
The chapel regularly housed services until a fire forced installation officials to close the facility in February 2014. The chapel reopened for meetings, classes and other special events earlier this year, but according to Navy Chaplain (Lt.) Jeremy Bennett, lead pastor and member of the Specker ministry team, this will be the first time an official worship service has been held in the facility since then.
"The chapel's renovation from the fire brought about a very nice facility, and the approval to begin a new service comes at a great time and presents a great opportunity," Bennett said.
The fire resulted in a lot of smoke and water damage to the building. The newly renovated facility features new flooring, paint and furniture.
Bennett, along with his ministry team, including Chaplain (Capt.) Luis Anda and Chap. (Maj.) Jeffery Roberson, will facilitate an Interservice Training Review Organization Contemporary Worship Service each week.
Bennett said the service will target the students housed in the area, including Marines, Airmen, Sailors and Soldiers.
"It's geared toward people who are not necessarily in AIT or boot camp, but somewhere in between boot camp and operational forces," Bennett said. "This facility is surrounded by barracks and chow halls -- there are a lot of students here."
Bennett said the RSO recently conducted a religious needs assessment and found only 2 percent of permanent party and resident military education students were being reached.
"The start of this service, among others, will help reach that population, and the location for our students in the Specker area couldn't be better. We're right between the biggest hot spots in Specker, the gym and Pizza Hut. Our ministry team here looks forward to the people we will get to know and the great things God has in store for our community," Bennett said.
Anda said he is excited to see the impact of the service.
"We hope to be able to reach the men and women in uniform in this area, especially as many of them don't have transportation," Anda said.
Bennett added that the community has been supportive of the initiative.
"We are very grateful to have the support of the garrison and Fort Leonard Wood community," Bennett said.
A Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony is scheduled to precede Sunday's service at 10:45 a.m. inside the Specker Chapel facility, Building 1712.
For more information, contact Bennett at 573.337.3542.