Over the past year the Fort Lee Unit Ministry Team has accomplished effective ministry for the Team Lee community despite significant challenges.
The Fort Lee Unit Ministry Team is made up of 15 chaplains and 12 chaplains’ assistants. One of the biggest problems facing the team this year was losing one of three chapels to a fire.
Chaplain (Col.) James Walker, Installation Chaplain, was watching Patriot Chapel burn when the chief of chaplains, (Maj. Gen.) David Hicks, called him on his cell phone and asked if everyone was alright and what he could do to help.
Walker remembers, “I told him everyone is safe, but we are going to need help with money to replace the loss of worship space.”
Walker quickly formed a team to look at relocation of worship services and to consider chapel improvements. Services were moved and consolidated to provide a smooth transition for worship within the first week.
Part of the planning process included requesting money for improvements for both Heritage and Memorial Chapels. Fort Lee recently received a $150,000 matching fund grant, and a $14,000 worship chair grant from the chief of chaplains.
The installation matched the $150,000 provided by the chief of chaplains to begin renovations at Heritage Chapel. These renovations became especially necessary after the installation lost Patriot Chapel and services had to be consolidated at Heritage Chapel.
The main post chapel, Memorial Chapel, is also being renovated, costing more than $900,000. A new multi-monitor video projector system is being installed in Memorial to add video to the worship experience.
According to Walker, “Our chapels need to have the technical mediums to minister to all faiths and to minister in a relevant manner to the younger generation.” The new video projection system will allow praise songs, hymns, videos, and sermon illustrations to be used in worship.
The Fort Lee Unit Ministry Team has faced hurdles this past year with triumph by continuing to provide caring ministry to Soldiers, Family Members, retirees and authorized civilians.
Over this past year, more than 18,000 counseling sessions have been conducted for Soldiers and Family Members in crisis. Numerous marriage retreats, worship services, weddings and funerals have been performed.
With the new chapel improvements, the Unit Ministry Team expects do even more for the Fort Lee Community in the next year.