We hear you -- Chapel responds to survey concerns

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Maj.) Randall D. Groves
  • 71st Flying Training Wing chaplain
(The following are responses to concerns Team Vance members raised when responding to the 2013 "Caring for People" survey conducted in March.)

Concern: Can the Chapel offer a spiritual awareness class?

Response: The Chapel staff is happy to offer a class or discussion group which explores a variety of religions and spiritual perspectives. The Chaplain Corps is mandated to provide, or provide for, the free exercise of religion for all Airmen, family members and other Department of Defense authorized personnel.

Approximately 20 percent of Vance AFB's active duty Airmen have no religious preference. Spiritual exploration is encouraged. Vance AFB currently has an Inter-Faith Council with Jewish, Catholic and Protestant Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and humanist members who meet to discuss ways to meet the needs of Airmen. Anyone may attend the IFC to explore a variety of religious traditions.

Concern: Can the Chapel offer a Protestant Women of the Chapel program?

Response: The Chapel currently offers a weekly group meeting for Protestant women. However, the volunteer that leads the small group is moving soon, and the group will need a new leader. Without this volunteer, the small group will disband this summer. In fact, most of the Chapel programs rely heavily on volunteers.

Operating a robust Protestant women's group is presently offered, but it will require at least one volunteer to lead the effort, with the Chapel providing guidance, training and resources. Contact your unit chaplain or call the Chapel, 213-7211, if you are interested in volunteering at the Chapel.

Concern: How can an Airman get access to Buddhism and atheist/humanist support groups?

Response: If the Chapel staff cannot directly provide for an Airman's religious needs, they will connect you to a resource that can. Unfortunately, the Chaplain Corps cannot provide chaplains at every base who can directly meet the needs of every Airman, therefore referrals are offered. The Chapel Connections database currently contains lists more than 40 places of worship in Enid. The database is available at "S:\Public\Chapel\Connections" on the Vance AFB network.

The Chapel Connections flyer also lists a Buddhist point of contact in the Oklahoma City area, and other places of worship. For an atheist and humanist contact in Enid, call the Chapel, 213-7211. Whatever your faith group, the Chapel staff will do their best to care for you.

How can Airmen help with Chapel programs?

Response: First, become a Chapel volunteer. Most chapel programs rely heavily on volunteers. Unfortunately the Chaplain Corps can only provide enough manpower to support essential functions. If you have interest in starting a new program or supporting a current one, contact your unit chaplain or call the Chapel, 213-7211. The staff can provide you with guidance, training and resources.

Second, participate in Chapel-sponsored events. A well-attended Chapel event indicates the event is meeting a need. A poorly-attended event is not. The staff is constantly evaluating how to prioritize limited manpower and resources. Attend the events you feel are most important to you to ensure those events continue.

Third, participate in the annual Chapel needs assessment. From mid-May through the end of June the Chapel surveys the base population before creating the annual ministry plan. Last year, 350 survey responses were received. To complete a needs survey, go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CWNHCCF, or ask your unit chaplain for a paper version.

The "Caring for People" survey is a great tool, but it isn't Chapel-specific enough to help build the annual ministry plan.

Fourth, introduce yourself to your unit chaplain. Vance AFB chaplains and their support staff are happy to visit with you about your particular needs. They want to serve you.