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Vandenberg Chapel realigns focus on Airmen, Families

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- 30th Space Wing Chapel office. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- 30th Space Wing Chapel office. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Air Force has seen change in 2013, from the budget to manning -- Airmen, civil servants and contractors have been directed to rethink how they do business and the 30th Space Wing Chapel office took note.

"We are living in unprecedented times," said Lt. Col. Glenndon Page, 30th Space Wing chaplain. "Sequestration is here and we are feeling its effects. Yet it is an opportunity for us to write history. Our senior leaders are calling for people to innovate, find creative solutions, and not allow circumstances to limit us from dreaming big."

Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force Chief of Staff, said during a State of the Air Force briefing on May 24, "Modernization isn't optional if we expect to be a viable Air Force in the future. We have to figure out how to make that happen while maintaining a ready force along the way."

The 30th Space Wing Chapel Office realigned its programs to better meet commander priorities and support mission essential tasks.

"Historically, military chapels have assigned chaplains to legacy ministry areas like youth, men and women, annual programs and, if time allowed, they would visit assigned units," Page said. "Now, Religious Support Teams, comprised of chaplains and chaplain assistants, are primarily responsible for aiding leaders at all levels and providing spiritual care to Airmen and their families."

This month the chapel updated its mission, vision and priorities. The vision is to have an innovative chapel team caring for people and building a strong spiritual community; the mission is to deliver robust spiritual care through unit integration and resource-focused quality programs and their priorities are Airmen, families and spiritual resiliency.

"We assigned an RST lead to each priority area," Page said. "For example, an RST assigned to 'Airmen' is responsible for outreach to single Airmen through visitation and ministry events in the Airmen Ministry Centers that the chapel operates. Likewise, an RST for "Families" is responsible for planning and leading programs that serve to build a sense of community and a strong spiritual foundation for families. Lastly, an RST for 'Spiritual Resiliency' will emphasize how the spiritual component of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness helps us remain strong as persons. With these new priorities, the spiritual needs of youth, men and women can still be included, but in a way that allows us to prioritize and focus our resources on what is mission essential."

One way the chapel has focused operations to better suit Airmen and families was to change service times.

"We no longer have an 8:30 a.m. Contemporary and 11:30 a.m. Gospel service," said Maj. Martin Adamson, 30th Space Wing deputy chaplain. "We will have one protestant service that will begin at 11:00 a.m."

This protestant minister is also spearheading a new class designed to bring families together during the week.

"We are excited to start a new protestant program called Tuesday Night Teaching or TNT," Adamson said. "It will begin with a shared meal and then we will break-off into age-specific groups for ministry. We don't want people to go Sunday to Sunday without being able to nurture spiritual life and share a meal."

Another mission multiplier was that a long-standing chapel member will continue to serve the Vandenberg community.

Though the Government Civilian Catholic priest position was on the chopping block last fall, Father Thomas Kelly was retained and his services will continue.

"We still provide daily mass, weekend mass and Confraternity of Christian Doctrine," Kelly said. "Our main focus is taking care of Airmen and the Vandenberg community. Ministries are about taking care of people and being active in the community; a multidimensional ministry. If you're not supporting the families at home there could be mission impact. It's important for us to be there and take care of whole family the best that we can."

Another program that some Team V members might be familiar with that has been resurrected is the annual chapel driven Fall Festival.

"We have a Fall Festival scheduled for Oct. 27," Adamson said. "We usually have about 600 people from the community come here for that. There are games and food... it's a great opportunity to bless the community and for us all to come together."

It's this emphasis on Airmen and families that take the focus of the 30th Space Wing Chapel office's new mission, vision and priorities as they hope to better serve Team V and the Air Force's premiere spaceport.

"We all need to be grounded if we do not want to be blown off-course," said Capt. Kyle Roehrig, 30th Space Wing chaplain in-charge of the RST for families. "One of the primary purposes of the chapel is to aide people in being in touch and in tune with whatever grounds them and gives them stability. The chapel is where you can find support, fellowship and encouragement during good times and safety, wise counsel and a life preserver during the harder times in life."

For any questions about the 30th Space Wing Chapel programs, call 606-5773.