The Rock Chapel: We are here for you

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daira Jackson
  • 386 AEW Public Affairs

The Rock Chapel at the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing offers service members and coalition partners a variety of religious services and resources to strengthen spiritual fitness, support overall wellness and boost morale.

Religious services include Catholic, Protestant (Contemporary and Gospel), Latter-day Saints, Jewish Shabbat, an Islamic Prayer Room and two earth-based sites.

“If we don't have what they're looking for, we'll make sure we can accommodate,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Cunningham, noncommissioned officer in charge of program management, 386th Chaplain Corps.

The Rock Chapel offers more than just religious services. They also offer 100% confidential counseling and trusted leadership advisement.

One of the religious support team’s duties is to conduct unit engagements by visiting units within the 386th Expeditionary Mission Support Group and driving to Cargo City at least twice a month.

“I have a really great team,” said Lt. Col. Glenn Lundberg, wing chaplain, 386th AEW, who deployed from the 349th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, California. “They do visitations almost every day. They're out there wanting to see the service members, even though we are short-staffed, they're still willing to go that extra mile and help go out there to see the service members. I'm really proud of them.”

Members of the religious support team chat with airmen to see how they're doing on their deployment.

“If anybody's leaving soon, if anybody's brand new, we just see, in general, how things are going, making sure there's no big crises or anything,” said Capt. Joshua Stevens, deputy wing chaplain, 386th AEW. “So [the airmen] know if they see us, then they're more likely to come over to the chapel. They're more comfortable to come to us if something big does happen.”

By checking on airmen in various units, the religious support team can gauge the overall spiritual health and morale of the troops and advise leadership.

“I think helping the airmen, and especially with counseling—when I can see I can make a difference in their lives, even if it’s that one time I meet with them—that's an immediate feel good response and that's probably one of the better things that I enjoy about this job,” said Lundberg, a licensed clinical psychologist at San Quentin State Prison in the San Francisco Bay area in California.

“It’s just as important to make sure you not only have the relationships, but [inform] people that their chaplain is on base, and their chaplains do care enough to go out and see them where they work,” said Stevens, a chaplain for seven years who is deployed from the 14th Flying Training Wing in Columbus, Mississippi.

In addition to services, there are various free resources available at The Rock Chapel: free religious materials; nine massage chairs in The Rocker’s Lounge; a kitchen that can be reserved; musical instruments to practice with when services are not in session; a freebie wall with books, coffee, snacks, candy and hygiene items; free greeting cards; and a conference room that can be reserved for meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Financial Peace University.

“[The Rock Chapel] provides a place for everyone to come and enjoy, relax and escape from the daily doldrums—case in point—Rocker’s Lounge is the preeminent location on The Rock to relax,” said Master Sgt. Elliot Denney, superintendent, religious affairs, 386th Chaplain Corps, who deployed from the 944th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona.

The Rock Chapel allows service members to come in and worship freely. Even when the chapel is not having service, anyone can come to the 24-hour sanctuary to meditate or relax.

“It's important for people to have an outlet after work or during the workday during their break,” said Cunningham, who deployed from the 164th Airlift Wing in Memphis, Tennessee. “That's what The Rock Chapel is here for.”

Volunteers are always needed to help with chapel cleanup, such as dusting and vacuuming; keeping the freebie wall stocked, clean and organized; and the Contemporary and Gospel services is always looking for singers and musicians.

“The best part of my job is getting to know the people, getting to establish a rapport with airmen, and letting them know that you're here for them,” said Cunningham, a history teacher and a sports coach from Brinkley, Arkansas. “When they come to us, it's possibly on their worst day. So, when they come see a chaplain or come see a religious affairs airman, and they want some type of guidance, we want them to know that we're here, no matter what, we're here.”