News: Service members on VBC come together to worship and praise during the Worship Experience – Iraq 2011
BAGHDAD – Services from different denominations of faith on Victory Base Complex came together on the night of June 4 to worship, praise and celebrate spiritually with music and dance.
The 25th Infantry Division Chaplaincy and Division Chapel 1500 Gospel Service hosted a Worship Experience – Iraq 2011 concert for service members and civilian employees at Camp Liberty, Iraq.
“[Worship Experience] was a good opportunity for those that wanted to be at a place where there is music and just have fun during an informal worship environment,” said Maj. La’Ketha Prioleau, United States Forces – Iraq, and a member of the 1500 Gospel Service.
“I thought participating in the concert would be a great experience, and a great opportunity to fellowship and worship with other services on VBC,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dexter Allen, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, also a member of the 1500 Gospel Music Ministry.
Several services on VBC participated in the concert, including Victory Gospel Experience, 1500 Gospel Dance Ministry, 1500 Gospel Music Ministry, the Ugandan Praise Team, Sather Band and the Filipino Praise Team.
One of the highlights of the night was the sergeant majors music team that played some of the old gospel songs.
“[The Worship Experience concert] was a morale booster for soldiers,” said Allen. “Most soldiers who participated in this event were officers and senior enlisted non-commissioned officers, and to see our leaders involved in something like that was an inspiration to all soldiers whether they have the same faith or not.”
Service members from the services participated worshiping and praising during the concert, some by singing a song using their own styles, others by dancing and others by playing instruments.
“This type of event creates a social atmosphere where people can come together in an environment that does not have a lot of pressure”, said Chaplain Maj. Christopher Archer, 25th Inf. Div. “It gives soldiers the freedom to participate and connect with each other, so they can continue building relationships not only with each other, but from a religious persuasion.”
“I think [soldiers] got that it is ok to worship God wherever you are and however you worship him, whether it’s in dance, contemporary, gospel, with music, or without music,” said Prioleau.
One of the five pillars of the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program is spiritual fitness. The Worship Experience concert reinforced the soldiers’ overall fitness especially soldiers who are currently living in a combat zone.
“Part of the spiritual pillar has to do with what you believe in, and this environment provided a place for soldiers to affirm what they believe and to join in a time of praise,” said Archer. “Worshiping together strengthens their spiritual pillar. We always have to revisit to what we know to be true, and it’s more powerful when we do it as a group. It lets us know we are not alone.
“I think this kind of event should be part of the spiritual fitness program, and we should do more things collectively as opposed to exclusively in our religious ministries. This experience is the beginning of similar spiritual events to come in the future,” said Prioleau.