Chaplains offer encouragement, connection through virtual services
By Todd PouliotApril 8, 2020
FORT STEWART, Ga. -- Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield chaplains are using prerecorded video and live streaming to connect with individuals and Families, saying during times of crisis and uncertainty, spiritual guidance provides hope and support.They are holding these as a result of no longer being able to conduct religious services in person due to recent directives aimed at preventing the spread of the novel virus affecting the world.“Just like in a combat zone, chaplains must adjust worship services depending on how the situation dictates,” said Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Garrison Chaplain, Maj. David Beavers. “This is something similar, as the mission is currently impacted by COVID-19.”According to 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield Command Chaplain, Col. Chip Huey, installation worship services and congregations are utilizing their Facebook pages to continue to provide religious support to the community.“We are using this platform as a place where our Soldiers and Family members can come for spiritual nurture even during this time of being separated from others,” Huey said. “So far we’ve had a healthy average of viewership across our different outlets.”In addition to tuning in to weekly worship services, viewers can also find online devotionals and virtual youth group meetings. There are plans to begin online bible studies, as well.Devotions, produced by Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield chaplains and religious affairs specialists, are posted on the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Religious Support Office Facebook page Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.“We hope that these devotions are a way for folks to have a spiritual jolt; a boost for the day,” Huey said.Chaplain, Capt. Andrew Anderson, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 3rd ID, said the feedback he has received has been positive.“Although we lose the unique experience of being there, we are providing a good alternative for when people are unable to attend a service,” Anderson said. “It’s providing a way to connect with one another while sitting at their homes. God designed us for social interaction. As much as possible, this is a good time to reconnect with people, and we should use the means that we have.”Along with connecting with others, the chaplains also recommend individuals and Families set aside time each day for spiritual reflection and growth, what Anderson refers to as, daily religious exercise.“That is what encourages us when life is thrown out of balance,” Anderson said.The Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield chaplains are available around the clock to provide spiritual guidance to individuals and Families. For more information, call 320-5051 for Fort Stewart or 320-0371 for Hunter Army Airfield.“It’s truly our desire to be here for 3rd Infantry Division and tenant unit Soldiers, Family members and our civilians; to be a resource for them and to walk alongside them, virtually, through this,” Huey said.