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JBSA chapels cancel communal services, but outreach continues

  • Published
  • By Robert Goetz
  • 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Joint Base San Antonio’s chapels have canceled all communal services and religious education classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but its spiritual outreach continues in other ways.
 

A chaplain corps member mans the chapel offices at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Randolph from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, though those hours are subject to change.


Facebook is another way the JBSA community can stay connected to their chapel teams.
 

“We have two active Facebook pages – for JBSA-Lackland Chapel and JBSA-Randolph Chapel,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Abel, JBSA Religious Affairs superintendent. “We encourage members to like those pages as we are creating new ways to spiritually connect to JBSA daily.

 

“Stress at work, in a marriage, family or personal relationship can take an emotional toll and even more so during challenging times like these,” Abel said.
 

The two Facebook pages feature weekly worship and daily thoughts of the day.
 

Counseling is still available at all three locations, although it will be done telephonically or virtually to maintain social distancing.


At JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Family Life Chaplain (Maj.) Mark Smith provides counseling telephonically or virtually.
 

Smith, who serves active-duty, guard and reserve members as well as retirees and Department of Defense civilians, can be contacted at 210-221-9445 or by email at mark.a.smith1143.mil@mail.mil to set up an appointment.
 

Chapel teams at all three JBSA locations are available 24/7 for emergency counseling. Sessions are by telephone, although exceptions are handled on a case-by-case basis.
 

“We anticipate an increase in counseling as a result of this unprecedented epidemic, and we are ready to work with mental health to meet the spiritual and emotional needs of our Airmen and their families,” said JBSA-Randolph Chaplain (Capt.) Damon Boucher.


Other services available are online Zoom for Youth ministry meetings for the youth programs at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and JBSA-Randolph and a virtual meeting April 4 for JBSA-Fort Sam Houston’s Catholic Women of the Chapel.


The chapel offices can be contacted at 210-221-5004, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston; 210-671-2913, JBSA-Lackland; and 210-652-6121, JBSA-Randolph. For emergency counseling or after-hours chaplain support, call the command post at 210-221-9363.


The chapels’ measures will help protect the most vulnerable community members, Boucher said.


“Although the mortality rate of COVID-19 is relatively low for healthy individuals, the virus is easily transmitted to those who may be more seriously affected,” he said. “Because our chapels also serve older retirees and their families, we will make every effort to protect the health of these individuals. Right now this includes strict adherence to CDC guidelines and command directives.


“Your JBSA military chapel services and programs are dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of our Airmen and their families,” Boucher said.

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