WIESBADEN, Germany - Parishioners were able to receive a Christian sacrament of communion for the first time in more than 10 weeks May 17, after some social distancing measures were lifted at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden.
Families and individuals arrived at parking lots at the Clay Kaserne and Hainerberg chapels and remained in their cars. Each household, with everyone wearing masks, was called forward one at a time, washed their hands and entered the chapel.
General Order No. 1, originally released March 18, put strict social distancing measures in place in the interest of protecting the community against the spread of COVID-19, which led the Religious Services Office to host services online.
But some elements of the sacrament and Christian services could not be fully appreciated through a computer screen, said Chap. (Lt. Col.) Jeffrey Dillard, garrison chaplain.
“Being able to gather physically enables us to taste and touch, which are sensory reminders of the Lord’s death, something that cannot be accomplished online,” he said. “So to be able to gather, even if we’re sitting in our cars or just a few families in a room at the same time, it’s closer to the original intent to practice communion with God and each other than what we could accomplish in a virtual environment.”
Chap. (Maj.) Daniel Claypoole, who leads the ChapelNext Contemporary Christian Service, said that although the social distancing measures have been frustrating, the situation has allowed him to hear sermons he hadn't heard before, now that many are posting their services online.
“I get to hear others preach in other churches,” he said. He added that he looks forward to being together with his congregation again.
Community members who are interested in hearing spiritual messages or attending virtual services can find more information on the Wiesbaden RSO Facebook page, www.facebook.com/RSOWiesbaden.