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Stewart opens largest chapel in armed services

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POSTED: November 24, 2007 5:01 a.m.
Fort Stewart opened the doors to the  newly constructed Main Post Chapel on Wednesday, making it the largest chapel in all of the country’s military installations.
Soldiers and civilians alike were outside to witness history in the making.
Cool, breezy winds did not keep the crowd from gathering for the outdoor event. And the 30-minute delay in the start of ceremony did not keep them from leaving.
The song, “You Life Me Up” provided the ambience as onlookers took in the 36,050 square-foot building with tall steeple.
Hinesville Mayor Tom Ratcliffe, Col. Todd Buchs, Fort Stewart garrison commander, and Sarah Lynch, wife of Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, were in attendance.
After an invocation and singing of the National Anthem, Buchs acknowledged that of all the things he can make happen on the Fort Stewart post, he was not in control of the weather.  He thanked his “platoon” of chaplains for their “direct line” to the authority who provided the clear blue skies and bright sunshine.
A dedication prayer was offered and proceedings took place to officially open the chapel.
With golden scissors in hand, dignitaries simultaneously cut the white ribbon and the crowd made their way down the walkway through the doors to the second part of the ceremony.
Soldiers held open the door as people entered and other soldiers served as ushers by passing out programs.
Hundreds of people settled in the cushioned pews of the sanctuary where each row was provided with a New International Version Bible and Hymnal Book.
Attention was directed to two large screens above the altar where an Army DVD production about the importance of the Army family and the support it gives the Army soldier.
Buchs introduced Gen. Charles Campbell, FORSCOM commander, who made an address.
Campbell began with how happy he was to be part of the ceremony and quoted a scripture from the Book of Psalms. He explained how when the idea of the Army Family Covenant was in the planning phases, the team wrestled with if it should be called a “promise” or a “pledge”. Covenant was decided upon because it was a more solemn term for commitment.
Campbell further linked the Army family as a vital part of making the soldier “Army strong,” enlisting the families as “just as strong.”
After the address Campbell, and Buchs signed the Army Family Covenant.
The ceremony concluded with cake and an open invitation to tour the facility.

Joe Parker Jr. contributed reporting to this article.
 

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