Because of rising concerns about COVID-19, all worship services on Fort Leavenworth will be conducted online through May 11, said Chaplain (Col.) Michael McDonald, Garrison chaplain.
“We don’t do it because we’re looking to compete (with other services being offered online). That is not the intent behind it at all,” McDonald said. “The real intent as to why we’re getting these out is for the purpose of our community having that connection with people from their community.
“It is mainly just to provide that source of connection to the familiar,” he said.
All services are at their normal times and are viewable on the respective chapel Facebook pages.
• Catholic weekday Mass is at noon Tuesday through Friday and weekend Mass is at 9:30 a.m. Sundays on the Saint Ignatius Parish, Fort Leavenworth Facebook page.
• The Protestant traditional worship service is at 8:30 a.m. Sundays, and the Protestant contemporary worship service is at 11 a.m. Sundays on the Fort Leavenworth Chapel Facebook page.
• The multicultural gospel worship service is at 10 a.m. Sundays on the Fort Leavenworth Gospel Service Facebook page.
• The Christ Fellowship service is at 5:45 p.m. Sundays on the Christ Fellowship – Fort Leavenworth Facebook page.
Services originally at Memorial Chapel, including the Liturgical worship service and the Episcopal Worship service, remain canceled.
Other church-related activities are also continuing online via videoconferencing, including religious education, Awana, and Campus Life Military.
Counseling services also remain available with unit chaplains, which comes with its advantages, said Chaplain (Capt.) Jonathan Secrest, 705th Military Police Battalion (Detention) chaplain.
“One, we have confidentiality that is ironclad. Even if the person starts talking about suicide, I cannot report that. I am not a mandated reporter, and that’s very rare,” Secrest said. “Sometimes when someone is having some really deep-seated troubles, they want to be able to talk to someone where there is no sense of uncertainty to where, all of a sudden, that conversation is going to go into a different office.
“The other advantage of talking to a chaplain, particularly in a unit, is the chaplain is actually part of your family, part of your battalion formation, so, usually, there is already some context in the relationship,” he said.
Although Secrest is assigned to the 705th MP Battalion, he said all chaplains on post will help anyone who needs it.
“A lot of us will cover for each other,” Secrest said. “It’s just something that you don’t just take care of your flock; you look out and wherever there is someone that has a need, you just help out.”
Secrest said when he provides counseling, he focuses on building trust and communication.
“I spend a lot of time simply listening and asking active listening questions to what is going on in their lives. Then, one of the things that really helps with my counseling is in between those times I’ve text messaged that person saying, ‘How is this issue going for you?’ In other words,
‘Do I care? Do I remember what you told me?’” Secrest said. “It is amazing what that can do for someone, particularly when they’re not a family member, when they show that type of interest. I hope that they don’t fall prey to the temptation of thinking, ‘I’m totally, totally alone with my problem’ because when you’re convinced that you’re totally alone in your problem, some bad stuff can happen.
“What I do is I very lovingly break the eggshell around them and try to let some sunlight in,” he said. “I don’t take control of their lives. … I help them discover with their own freewill, and their own sense of initiative. In a lot of senses, when I’m trying to build hope for them, I’m walking alongside them.”
For more information about church services and counseling services, call the Religious Support Office at 684-2210.