We arrived in Great Lakes in the latter part of Saturday evening. Because of that, we were hesitant to get the entire family out for church on Sunday morning. However, since I had to go to the base to check in anyway, I felt it would be appropriate to worship with the Sailors at the Bluejacket Memorial Chapel. This chapel has a lot of history for me, having been my first home church after leaving Girard, Kansas, and being my spiritual food for the first year of my Navy career.
I walked in as the choir was coming in, and I was immediately impressed. Not only by the choir, but by the sheer number of people in the building. I doubt we ever really went more than fifty back when I was going, but wow…I know for sure that there was over 100 in service that morning. Very impressive! It really shows that the sailors in the service were interested in reaching their fellow students and that the chaplain was interested in guiding those under his care.
The main chaplain was not at the chapel this particular Sunday as he was in a leadership school. The regional chaplain, Captain Finch, preached on contentment and making our relationship with God a priority. The thing I liked the most was how he challenged the sailors to buy a Bible. “You wouldn't use your friend's toothpaste, would you?” he asked. “You wouldn't dig through the trash for a used Q-Tip, would you? Why then do you not have your own Bible?” I LOVED THAT!
I tell you though, maybe the thing that touched me the most was a testimony by a young lady named Jackie. Exactly one year ago, she had lost her 18 month old boy due to a pool accident. She shared a heartfelt testimony of God's healing power and her new strength. Obviously, since I was remembering my sister who had passed away six years to the day, it resonated powerfully for me. I found the young lady after church and thanked her for her testimony.
Unfortunately, this service probably isn't for me. For one, since it caters to mostly single service members, it is not designed for kids. Secondly, and I'm still figuring how to make this work right, the service is for students, for the most part, not for staff. There is a fine line to walk when it comes to mixing with students, and I don't want to cross it. However, if you happen to know a student at Great Lakes, definitely tell him or her that this is a good place to be.
So week one of my church hunting is over. It was successful and productive, even if this won't end up being my church home. It was a wonderful service and a great reminder of my time here over 13 years ago.