FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- When the post began practicing social distancing on a large scale in mid-March, Fort Rucker chaplains immediately realized they were facing a monumental task in their mission to tend to the spiritual resiliency of the post community.But far from that mission coming to a screeching halt, the talented chaplaincy staff thought a little outside of the box and took to the internet to continue its ministry to the community, according to Chaplain (Col.) Ed Hamlin, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and garrison chaplain.“COVID-19 caused us to close a lot of facilities and cancel events due to spatial distancing – I won’t call it social, I prefer spatial, keeping our space,” Hamlin said, adding that because of the technical requirements of Facebook Live the religious services office decided to go with creating its own Fort Rucker Chaplain YouTube channel instead to continue its ministry.The effort debuted on YouTube March 22 with recently prerecorded Catholic and Protestant services being made available at their normal start times for people to view. New services were added to the channel March 29. Future services will make their appearances at the normal service times, as well, Hamlin said, adding there will be an Easter Sunrise Service on the channel April 12 at 6:30 a.m.And people are watching them, Hamlin said, adding that there were more than 700 views of the services the first week, while normal in-person attendance averages about 600-800 people. “We’re running right with it – we’re very, very close.”But the RSO didn’t stop there, as March 23 chaplains began taping daily devotionals on a rotating basis, which are also available on the channel.Between the services and devotionals, Hamlin said there were more than 1,000 views, which is even more impressive when considering most views are being seen by multiple people.The chapel also offers curbside Eucharist for the Catholic community Sundays at 9 a.m. and communion for the Protestant community on Mondays, available by calling 334-447-1807, the chaplain added.Those just needing to talk are welcome to use the chapel’s new Talk-2-Chaplain phone line available at 255-9566.“Individuals can call in and say, ‘Hey, I just need to talk to someone,” Hamlin said. “We will also take one-on-one walk-ins if people need to speak to a chaplain at Wings Chapel or Main Post Chapel. During times like these, people need a comforting word, maybe a word of hope or encouragement, and we want to be able to provide that for them.”Hamlin is happy with the efforts of his staff in making all of this happen and succeeding beyond expectations while conducting business in a totally new manner.“For both the Catholic priests and the preachers, this has been a little bit surreal – it’s something we’ve never done before,” the colonel said. “When you’re preaching or speaking or holding Mass to an empty sanctuary, it’s a little bit harder, especially when you have a camera filming you. But overall, I have nothing but positive words to say – and they’re learning a new skillset.“I’ve got a great staff,” Hamlin added, “Everyone’s got their roles and responsibilities, but we’ve been able during this time to also to be able to say, ‘OK, these were your primary roles and responsibilities, but in case you go down, who’s your secondary?’ They’re talented enough to step to the plate, and be able to do other roles and responsibilities, as well.”It’s a good thing, too, because the chaplaincy is seeing an uptick in the need for its services, Hamlin said.“There’s not an uptick in bad stuff, but there is an uptick in people just wanting some words of encouragement and hope,” he said, adding that spiritual resiliency is important at all times, but even more so in times such as these.“We understand that not everyone wants to worship – we’ve got that. But I think everyone has a longing for some kind of spiritual element about their life,” Hamlin said. “Chaplains provide an element that helps individuals strengthen their spiritual resiliency – you need something outside of yourself in these times. That’s where the chaplains can come in and help individuals clarify what it is in their spiritual life that is that factor that helps them bounce back.”People can check out the chapel’s offerings on its channel at or just searching YouTube for Fort Rucker Chaplain.“We’re looking forward to the day this thing is over and getting our congregations back worshipping together – that’s what we’re longing for,” the chaplain said. “But until then, we’re going to continue to support our commander-in-chief and our local leadership, and do the things that we need to do to mitigate all of the COVID-19 risks while at the same time reaching out to people and ministering to them.”