News: Personal, spiritual growth; Better communication focus of free weekend retreats
Story by Paul Bello
WASHINGTON – It’s a new year and a time for new beginnings. Just ask anyone associated with the Naval District Washington (NDW) Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation (CREDO). The program, which is the first of its kind in the region, recently opened an office at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) Chapel Center. The center will cater to all active-duty service members and their families.
The CREDO program originally began in the Navy more than 40 years ago as a response to helping individuals afflicted with drugs. Today, it focuses on the development of one’s personal and spiritual growth through various weekend retreats and designated workshops. Such topics include marriage enrichment, self confidence, relaxation, combating personal affliction, suicide prevention and how to better communicate with others.
“Our goal is to help people grow spiritually and to enhance their personal readiness. There’s nothing like this in the region, so I believe it has enormous value,” said Cmdr. William Middleton, a Navy chaplain and the director. “We want our service members to find the answers they need. We have several retreats already lined up throughout the area. We’re really looking forward to what the future holds.”
During a recent kickoff ceremony for CREDO, Middleton thanked various members of the JBAB Chapel Center for their help and resources in getting the program off and running. He also extended his appreciation to members of the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard and Naval Support Activity Washington Fleet and Family Services for their support of the program.
Chaplain of the Marine Corps Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben, a Navy chaplain who also serves as the Navy’s deputy chief of chaplains, said that adding CREDO was a response to the times. She commented it’s also gratifying to see something in place that will serve as an outlet for fellow chaplains.
“I applaud NDW for recognizing a need that wasn’t being addressed. If you stop and think of those who lean forward and the load they carry on their shoulders, one cannot realize how challenging duty is in the National Capital Region (NCR),” Kibben said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to create an informal way for people to go and find respite, fellowship and a sense of who they are professionally and spiritually.”
NDW Commandant Rear Adm. Markham Rich said he could not be prouder of CREDO’s presence in the region and what it will offer; it is a clear contribution to readiness and will surely make a difference to military families.
To register for CREDO or for more information, call 202-767-5900 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.