By Sgt. Adrienne Killingsworth, 18th Military Police Brigade Public AffairsDecember 2, 2010
MANNHEIM, Germany - The smell of hot coffee and baked goods fills the room and over the sounds of laughter, conversation, and the quiet sizzling of a waffle maker, a single voice quiets the room.
"Let us pray."
Heads are bowed, eyes are closed and a quiet reflection begins for the Soldiers and family members gathered at the Benjamin Franklin Village main post chapel here.
Maj. Brian Reck, the chaplain for the 18th Military Police Brigade, hosted a prayer breakfast in the early morning hours Nov. 19 before the deadlines, stresses and distractions of work had a chance to occupy the minds of those gathered.
"It's a nice peaceful time when Soldiers can forget work for a little bit and enjoy a spiritual environment," Reck said.
Despite religious backgrounds ranging from Buddhist to Catholic at the chapel, there was a unity of purpose in that morning's prayer breakfast.
Sgt. Timothy Saunders, the signal systems team chief with HHC, 18th MP Bde., said for him, "everyone approaches their faith individually and has their own individual way that they worship, but I believe that fellowship is also a really important part of your spiritual health."
Fellowship was evident not just during the prayer breakfast but was made even more apparent by the amount of teamwork that went into organizing and setting up the prayer breakfast and making sure it was a success.
Soldiers got to the chapel early to make fresh, hot waffles and Saunders, along with Pfc. Kiyan Mitchell, an information systems specialist with the HHC, 18th MP Bde., led the congregation in hymns after the chaplain's invocation.
Also lending itself to the success of the breakfast was the amount of command support that the chaplain said he received.
The level of success for an event like this is proportionate to the amount of command support it receives, Reck said, adding that the command support received sent a strong message about the value the command places on the spiritual health of its Soldiers.
As the Army begins to focus on the different dimensions of strength in its Soldiers through programs like Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, the importance of spiritual wellbeing is getting more attention.
Events like this one give Soldiers a chance to take time out to re-focus their minds and balance the spiritual dimension of their health with the physical, emotional, social and family aspects of their overall heath.
"Our spiritual health is the nucleus," Reck said. "If we're not healthy internally, then everything else is just a little bit off."