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Clergy Day: Chapel strengthens partnerships

Clergy Day: Chapel strengthens partnerships

U.S. Air Force Col. John Nichols, the 509th Bomb Wing commander, shakes hands with a local religious leader during Clergy Day at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 4, 2017. The Whiteman Chapel staff invited religious leaders from different denominations to the event to thank them for their support and ministry to Airmen who attend worship services off base.

Clergy Day: Chapel strengthens partnerships

U.S. Air Force Col. James Macaulay, the 442d Fighter Wing vice commander, and Col. John Nichols, the 509th Bomb Wing commander, answer questions during Clergy Day at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 4, 2017. This was the first Total Force Integration Clergy Day event at Whiteman to help the local religious leaders understand how their support is contributing to the well-being of the active duty, guard and reserve Airmen and their families.

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Whether Airmen and their families choose to attend worship services on or off base, the Air Force Chaplain Corps is responsible for ensuring the base population’s spiritual needs are met.

For the past three years the Whiteman Chapel has organized a Clergy Day to help strengthen the partnership between military and local religious leaders. On Aug. 4, 2017, these leaders congregated at the Whiteman Air Force Base (AFB) chapel once again.

“We invited religious leaders of all denominations, from Lee’s Summit, to Centralia, to Branson,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Shipman, the 509th Bomb Wing (BW) chaplain. “The purpose of this multi-faith event was to help inform local religious leaders regarding the mission of the 509th BW.”

From Catholic priests to Methodist ministers, a total of 10 clergy members entered the sanctuary and, last Friday, had the opportunity to hear from the guard and reserve counterparts.

“This was the first year Clergy Day was a Total Force Integration (TFI) event including the 509th, 442d and 131st wings,” said Shipman.
Both the 509th BW commander, Col. John Nichols, and the 442d Fighter Wing vice commander, Col. James Macaulay, welcomed the group to the base and answered questions.

“With the local clergy and the base chaplains working together we can do great things for our Airmen,” said Rev. Jon-Michael Schweigert, the pastor for Faith Lutheran Church in Knob Noster, Missouri. “It was nice to hear the chaplains’ perspective on ministry, as well as the commander’s perspective on what life is like at Whiteman.”

Since a large population of Whiteman attend worship services at off-base locations, the base chapel staff also used Clergy Day to ensure the religious leaders were equipped with tools they needed to support their ministry for Airmen, as well as keep track of those who were willing to help the base during emergencies or crisis.

“Clergy Day was a way of establishing a greater connection with the local religious leaders,” said Shipman. “We also took it as an opportunity to thank them for their support and inspiring our Airmen’s spiritual journey.”

For more information about the Whiteman AFB Chapel call 660-687-3652.