Chaplain field services bring church to warriors

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Emily F. Alley
  • 451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Donnette Boyd, the chaplain of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing here, pulled a small bag from her desk March 11.

Inside the tough green fabric were a shiny crucifix and several note cards, a few pieces of what she called a "chapel in a bag."

She was preparing for her first day of her newly scheduled field service, sermons that go beyond just meeting in a church.

She said the philosophy is nothing new; in fact, it's thousands of years old, and is taken from the life of Jesus.

"Field services are quite scriptural," the chaplain described. "As a Christian, from my standpoint, Jesus didn't wait in the synagogue for people to show up. He went where they were and met their needs where he found them."

Chaplain Boyd takes her sermons to several locations, to each of her geographically separated groups of Airmen, at Kandahar Airfield. Each group has its own 10-minute service.

Time constraints are another reason the chaplain chose to hold field services. Many of the offices at Kandahar Airfield work 6 days a week, or more, and members cannot spend several hours away from work to attend a traditional church service. She used the pararescue unit as an example, because members must be ready to jump on a helicopter at any moment and do not have the option to drive to church on Sunday.

The field services will have a strict 10-minute time limit and a designated timer to make sure they don't run long.

Tech. Sgt. Tonya Wyatt, who attended the service, mentioned that it ran 9 minutes and 49 seconds.

"This is the fourth phenomenal sermon I've heard by Chaplain Boyd, and every time I learn so much," Sergeant Wyatt added.

For the next few Saturdays, Chaplain Boyd plans to speak on the seven churches in the book of Revelation, comparing the flaws of each church to common flaws people may see in themselves. In those 10 minutes, she said the attendees will get a prayer, a word of encouragement and a word of hope.

"Chaplains have done this for the U.S. military since Valley Forge, we've always taken God to the warrior," Chaplain Boyd reflected. "It's our first love -- praying with them in the trenches."

The series, called "Sermon under fire," is titled after Air Force emergency training called "Care under fire," that prepares Airmen for first aid while in combat.

The chaplain will make sure that her Airmen are cared for not just physically, but spiritually.