News: Army dedicates new chapel at Fort Leonard Wood
Story by Marti Yoshida
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – The Installation Chaplain's Office at Fort Leonard Wood plans to host a ribbon cutting and chapel dedication service at 9:30 a.m., Nov. 1, at the new Main Post Chapel, Building 608, located at the intersection of Constitution and Minnesota avenues. The event is being held to celebrate the completion of the 32,900-square-foot facility, to recognize key individuals involved in the project and to officially mark the chapel’s opening.
According to Lt. Col. Keith Jackson, a chaplain and project officer for the new chapel, the building provides much needed space for worship services, consolidated space for religious education, a fellowship hall and kitchen facilities.
“The sanctuary seats 618 people and can be expanded to seat up to 1,200 people,” Jackson said. “The facility includes state-of-the-art, integrated, audio-visual and computer technology capabilities between the sanctuary, classrooms and office areas.”
“The vision for the chapel has been 10 years in the making,” said Col. James Watson, the installation’s senior chaplain. “As Fort Leonard Wood expanded rapidly with the basic training mission, we saw a huge increase in the number of people attending services, especially in the summer months. A long time ago we recognized the need for increased space. So this chapel gets us up to speed on what we’ve really needed for 10 years.
“The chapel provides a platform to discover and develop the spiritual strength and resiliency needed to make troops and their families stronger,” Watson said. “The Army works to build soldiers who are stronger in mind, body and spirit, and this new chapel helps in that effort by building up faith and hope. It is also the centerpiece or stage for observing so many special moments in people’s life cycles including birth, marriage, and memorial ceremonies. The chapel is the foundation to that whole spiritual process.
“Even the project itself took an act of faith,” Watson said. “Organizations including the Directorate of Public Works, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Directorate of Resource Management and contractors provided incredible oversight to get this all together. This was a very complex project; it is working, and represents a tremendous achievement on the part of all who were involved.”