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    Prayer during Pandemic Times

    CNFJ/CNRJ Host Virtual National Day of Prayer

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Zhiwei Tan | 200507-N-LG762-1001 YOKOSUKA, Japan (May 7, 2020) A screenshot of Capt. Mark Winward,...... read more read more

    YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS)— A dim blue light illuminates the faces of all those in attendance, the congregation observes in silence as a sermon is delivered. Suddenly an audible ping interrupts the service, another attendee arrives to listen. The newcomer has done little to distract the gathering as the speaker continues uninterrupted. The only identifiable thing about the late attendee is a gray default icon in lieu of a visible face, this person has chosen to leave their camera turned off.

    This National Day of Prayer event is a Prayer Breakfast, hosted by Commander U.S. Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ)/ Commander Navy Region Japan (CNRJ). This year, participants attended virtually from all around the world on May 7.

    Planning for this event began last November and it was originally slated to take place at either the Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s (CFAY) Officer’s club or Chapel of New Hope. Currently both venues remain empty due to the shelter in place order that was enacted on Yokosuka Naval Base March 27. The order prohibits group gatherings and non-essential personnel movement until further notice to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    According to, the founding fathers had very established religious backgrounds resulting in the first call to prayer event, which took place in 1775. Later, on August 12, 1998, legislation mandated the president issue a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer - a day in which the citizens of the United States may gather and pray at churches, in groups and as individuals.

    This year, the event was initially cancelled in its entirety due to restrictions on gatherings, but the world-wide-web provided a solution to this issue.

    “During this unprecedented international crisis, it is particularly important we come together - regardless of faith group, set aside time to pray for the health and well-being of our military, families, the nation and the world,” said Capt. Mark Winward, CNFJ/CNRJ region chaplain.

    The world has never before been as connected as it is today. The key-note speaker was 6,325 miles away, a 13-hour time zone difference and was still able to attend and speak at the event.

    “This is truly a first for me, in all the years,” said Rear. Adm. Brent Scott, U.S. Navy Chief Chaplains. “I’ve been engaged in National Day of Prayer at some level in various locations around the world. This is the first time I crossed several time zones. We’ve been able to connect in this fashion and I am truly grateful and honored to participate in this morning of prayer with you.”

    In addition to being used as a way for the key note speaker to spread a message, the Navy’s new collaboration software gives members access to messages, share files, set up events and hold video conferences. The system assisted in consolidating the various communication methods used to securely continue the command’s mission of supporting the fleet while still maintaining safety guidelines.

    While this event might have brought back a small amount of normalcy to those who attended, CNFJ/CNRJ has stayed committed to serving its members especially during this time of crisis.

    “All of our Chaplain services are being streamed and recorded,” said Winward. “We have made resiliency videos, which are posted up on our CREDO Japan Facebook page. We have partnered with the USO to create care packages for members under Restriction of Movement status. Some installations in addition have even done virtual counseling sessions. For a better idea of all the services provided please visit your installation chapel Facebook page to see how we can help you.”

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    Date Taken: 05.06.2020
    Date Posted: 05.10.2020 19:53
    Story ID: 369662
    Location: JP

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