366th Fighter Wing chaplaincy builds relationship with local clergy
By Senior Airman Tyrell Hall, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 10, 2019
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The 366th Fighter Wing chaplaincy hosted an immersion tour for local clergy and ministry leaders, June 6, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, in order to build a relationship with the Mountain Home clergy and the civic leader community that supports strengthening the readiness and resiliency of Airmen.
Staff Sgt. Anthony Bean, 366th Fighter Wing Religious affairs airman, brought together 16 religious leaders from various religions in the Mountain Home community to learn about MHAFB and the base chaplaincy.
The group visited the 391st Fighter Squadron and the base chapel to experience the culture of the Bold Tigers and learn about the base chaplain support system.
"The biggest thing is building relationships," said Maj. Matthew Ellis, 366th FW chaplain. "We highly value our local clergy and we want to continue to strengthen our relationship with that community."
Ellis explained this is one of the ways the chaplaincy can show their gratitude to the community for supporting their Airmen in their hard times. Through coordination with the local clergy the chaplain aim to enhance the ability to provide tailored spiritual care for Airman and their families.
While services are offered on base through the base chaplain, not all Airmen attend them and many don't know about services offered off base.
"We have about 3,200 Airmen assigned to the base and most of them attend the off base religious services or don't go to services at all," said Col. Joe Kunkel, 366th FW commander. "So we looking forward to finding a way to bridge the gap."
While visiting the 391st FS, the group visited the Bold Tigers' heritage hall where Airmen were able to share their stories and experiences with the clergy. They were also able to see an F-15 Strike Eagle static display and were shown some of the equipment that the Bold Tigers use.
"They were able to see Airmen in their workplace and be exposed to some of their challenges," said Maj. Joshua Payne, 366th FW wing chaplain. "Now, when Airmen and families attend their services these religious leaders have tools they can use to be able to tailor the spiritual care to meet the needs of the Airmen."
Payne expressed that he wanted to find ways that the chaplaincy can benefit the community. Additionally, he mentioned that one of his hopes is to assemble an inter faith council.
"The inter faith council is a quarterly gathering of a variety of faith leaders to include leaders in Boise to figure out how we can create a network for when religious accommodation," Payne said. “When religious accommodation issues come up, we have a team in place that can collaborate with the goal of helping Airmen feel like Mountain Home and MHAFB are places their spiritual needs can be met."
Payne said he looks forward to working with the community in the future on reaching out to Boise to expand their reach in order to effectively bring a variety of spiritual support systems closer to home taking care of Airmen and families throughout the area.