The Chapel: A place to belong

  • Published
  • By Heidi Hunt
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Boosting spiritual values connects people and builds resiliency and hope in Airmen. It upholds the Air Force mission, vision and values.

While serving as a visible reminder of the Holy, the 509th Bomb Wing Chapel Team provides spiritual care and the opportunity for Air Force members and their families to exercise their constitutional right to freedom of religion.

"In holding with the Air Force Global Strike Command values, the 509th Bomb Wing Chapel works to ensure free exercise of religion, provide opportunities for spiritual and religious growth through worship," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) William Bartoul, 509th Bomb Wing Chaplain.

Another dimension of the chapel is growth through worship, religious education and pastoral guidance.

"Our goal is to provide Airmen and their families a place to belong and exercise their religious beliefs with their appropriate faith group," said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Ruggiero, 509th Bomb Wing NCO in charge of Chapel Operations.

As far as religious growth and religious development are concerned, pastoral guidance is an integral part of both.

"On a personal level, people are encouraged to reach out for spiritual direction as opposed to merely problem solving," Bartoul said. "To accomplish this requires a team. "We imbue our chapel staff with special trust and responsibility ... an elite, highly-disciplined Chaplain Corps team."

"The Chapel helps to model a mission of glorifying God and serving Airmen and their families and pursing excellence ... That is the hallmark of the Air Force Chaplain Corps," he added. 

As a matter of clarity, the Chapel has two profound areas of unique responsibility, worship and military ministry. Only a qualified Chaplain Corps can fulfill these roles.

"The first area is worship which includes pastoral guidance, religious education, and ministry to spouses and dependents," Bartoul said.

Through all four seasons, the worship side of the chapel hosts a variety of events and programs and aims to make each action a valuable and memorable for Team Whiteman.

"The second area revolves around the work stations of the Airmen; such as squadron visitations, crisis counseling, pastoral guidance, and advising leadership in terms of moral and ethical issues," Bartoul added.

"Unlike any other service offered on base, the Chapel provides 100 percent confidentiality when it comes to counseling," Bartoul said.

While the Chapel stays active yearlong, periodically their efforts double; preparing and participating in base exercises.

"We accommodate for extra hours in stress relief efforts to help aid Airmen who are working extra hours," Bartoul said. "During those special times we shift our energy and resources to do our part well."

Since the demand for Team Whiteman's Chaplains is high, Chaplain assistants step in and help meet needs when possible, according to Bartoul.

"The chaplain assistants have a diverse knowledge about religious practices and counseling intervention. They play a valuable role in the Whiteman community," Bartoul said.

The Chapel Corps is rooted in defending the First Amendment for the right to exercise freedom of religion and upholding mission, vision and values.

For more information on the base chapel ministry, or to speak to a chaplain, call 660-687-3652 during business hours, or 1-866-395-4357 after hours.