By Bernard S. Little
The Department of Pastoral Care at Walter Reed National
Military Medical Center hosted a chapel decommissioning ceremony Oct. 28 as chapel
services move to other locations on base. The building housing the hospital chapel
will be demolished as part of the Medical Center Additions and Alterations
Beginning Nov. 4, Catholic Mass will be held at 9 a.m. each
Sunday in Memorial Auditorium. Catholic Mass will also be held Monday through
Thursday at noon in the Outpatient Medical Annex (Building 85T) and at 11 a.m.
each Friday in the same location.
Also beginning Nov. 4, Protestant Service will be held at
10:30 a.m. each Sunday in Memorial Auditorium.
Islamic service will be held Monday through Thursday at 1:30
p.m. in the Outpatient Medical Annex (Building 85T) starting the week of Nov.
4. Islamic service will also be held each Friday at 1 p.m. in the Outpatient
Medical Annex (Building 85T).
The Department of Pastoral Care can be reached at
301-295-1510. Emergency Chaplain Support Services can be requested by calling
301-295-4611 (CDO Desk).
Sunday services are televised throughout the hospital on
Channel 14 or 112, the Flag and Chapel Channel.
Army Chaplain (Capt.) Daniel Braswell said, “I believe some
brave things have taken place through this chapel congregation through the
years. I also believe that some of the greatest days are ahead.” He added some
of those in the congregation have worshipped at the chapel for decades and
stressed the importance of remembrance, perseverance and sharing.
Chief of the Department of Pastoral Care Navy Chaplain (Capt.)
James Pittman explained that for 78 years “people have worshipped at military
chapels on this compound. They started in the Tower when this was the National
Naval Medical Center, and when that building transition more from hospital care
to administrative focus, this building was built and that was 55 years ago this
summer. So for 55 years, people have worshipped in this space.”
Pittman explained the Navy conducts decommissioning ceremonies
primarily for ships once they have reached the end of their usable life and are
retired from active service. As part of the chapel decommissioning at WRNMMC, a
Sailor rang a bell eight times to indicate the watch has been secured in the
chapel for the last time, following the tradition of decommissioning ceremonies
WRNMMC Chief of Staff Army Col. (Dr.) Rodney Gonzalez
participated in the chapel decommissioning ceremony, providing a litany of
thanksgiving and stating, “Eternal God…Graciously receive our thanks for this
place, and accept the work of our hands, offered to your honor and glory. We
thank you, Lord for your presence over the years as we have worshipped you in
this place. We thank you, Lord for the fulfilling of our desires and petitions
as you see best for us.
In providing the litany of decommissioning, Pittman stated,
“In this place we remember our connection as fellow service members, as
patients, as hospital staff, and, most importantly, we remember our common bond
through our Lord Jesus Christ who binds us together in love and is the reason
we have met together in the place over the years as [the Lord’s] people.”