The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how everyday Air Force operations are approached. In an effort to prevent the pandemic from spreading, while still providing Airmen and their families the abilities to practice their faith, the chapel at Beale is providing virtual worship services.
“Our preference would be to provide worship services with faith communities in attendance,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Conklin, 9th Reconnaissance Wing chaplain. “But because of the COVID-19 pandemic going on around the world, faith communities are confronted with the idea of ‘how do we still enable individuals to practice their faith during this time, where we also need to remain socially distant and prevent the disease from spreading’ so here, and at many other installations we’ve gone towards virtual worship services.”
The chapel recognizes the toll that social isolation can take on a person’s mental health, providing virtual services is one way they are combating this issue.
“One of the things we as leaders of faith communities worry about is that as people move into isolation, that will then drive feelings of loneliness, depression, and they won’t be able to seek out the same social support systems they might have relied on before,” said Lt. Col. Conklin. “Enabling people to practice their faith as best we can, while practicing safe social distancing enables them to keep that important practice up on their lives and counteract some of the things people might be feeling in isolation.”
Practicing faith is something that helps people get through rough times, it provides a sense of structure and connects people.
“We’re looking forward to the day when we can invite people back into the chapel for personal and present worship,” said Lt. Col Conklin.