U.S. Army Central

Feature Stories

Chapels Reopen Doors for In-Person Gatherings

By Story by Sgt. Khylee Woodford | U.S. Army Central | June 20, 2020

CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT 06.20.2020 --

Over the weekend, religious services throughout Camp Arifjan re-opened their doors for in-person gatherings.

Services were halted earlier this year in response to COVID - 19.

With social distancing implemented, attendance capacity was limited to 25 personnel, along with limited seating.

Despite these restrictions, U.S. Army Chaplain Maj. Jung Lee, assigned to the 595th Transportation Brigade here, noticed the pandemic did not deter attendance.

"We are starting to see new faces; there is steady growth," said Lee. "This was a pleasant surprise."

Lee led the contemporary services at the Post Chapel in Zone 1 on Saturday, June 20, 2020.

Along with identifying new faces in the crowd, a new sense of fellowship fostered amidst the precautionary changes in typical services.

"We talk with a mask on, but there is conversation now and eye contact," said Lee. "There is a sense-- I can just feel, people, enjoy the atmosphere of community."

U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain Cpt. James Johnson, deployed with the 3rd Medical Command and member of the praise team, also served on the re-opening day of contemporary service.

"You can be in great shape and have a great education and still lose your connection to meaning while on mission," said Johnson.

"Connecting with the community is a wonderful way to stay connected with meaning, (in-person) chapel services helps to provide that."

During the temporary closure of these services across all denominations, chaplains within the Area Support Group - Kuwait provided service members and DoD civilians with access to online fellowship.

"Some services were already being recorded; however, virtual services will continue even after the pandemic," said Sgt. Jamel King, Chaplain Assistant and ASG-KU Operations non-commissioned officer in charge of chaplain services.

"It is our job to offer our service members and civilians with these services," said King. "The pandemic did not disrupt our battle rhythm."

For more information on services, locations, and times, please contact Sgt. King at jamel.l.king.mil@mail.mil