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Chaplains take care of Airmen, Families during pandemic

1st Lt. Jacob Rogers, 366th Fighter Wing chaplain, bows his head in prayer, March 18, 2020, at Liberty Chapel on Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Chapel has started transitioning most of its programs and services to online platforms to continue to take care of Airmen and families during the Covid-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew Kobialka)

1st Lt. Jacob Rogers, 366th Fighter Wing chaplain, bows his head in prayer, March 18, 2020, at Liberty Chapel on Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Chapel has started transitioning most of its programs and services to online platforms to continue to take care of Airmen and families during the Covid-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew Kobialka)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --

COVID-19 has changed how the Air Force must approach day-to-day operations. The 366th Fighter Wing Chapel has adopted that adaptive mindset to ensure they can still take care of Airmen and families.

“The chapel got together and looked at what we can do to continue to complete the mission,” said 1st Lt. Jacob Rogers, 366th Fighter Wing chaplain. “We had to cancel some events to apply social distancing guidelines, but we have found ways to be flexible with many of our programs by going virtual.”

Sunday service is one of the first events to go virtual. The chapel plans to live-stream Sunday services at their regular scheduled time.

“We are still working out the specifics of how it’s going to work,” Rogers said. “Ideally, for the catholic side of the house, we will still hold a full mass virtually.”

The Chapel also announced that the marriage workshop, parenting seminar and counseling will be made available online or through the Zoom app.

“This is in an effort to enhance resiliency and take care of Airmen and families while remaining vigilant of the risk of social interaction during this pandemic,” Rogers said.

Additionally, the chapel is likely to break up bible studies into smaller group meetings at members’ homes to eliminate large social gatherings but still provide an opportunity for community.

“It looks a little different; we won’t always do it this way; but by being adaptable we are actively trying to meet the needs of Airmen and families,” Rogers said. “That’s what we are all about.”

The Chapel has even recognized the struggle junior enlisted Airmen might face with food shortages happening.

“We’ve been planning to host a dinner for younger Airmen and we almost cancelled it,” Rogers said. “But rather than taking the easy way out, we thought about how we can still make this happen and fill a need.”

They found their answer in take-out dinners. Now Airmen can pick up their food and go without gathering in large groups.

So despite current events, life continues for Airmen and the Chapel is showing that it can overcome any obstacle.

Rogers explained that in trying times an open mindset is the best starting place to find solutions.

“Airmen are resilient,” Rogers said. “We will always find a way to complete the mission.”

For live updates on chapel services check out the Mountain Home AFB Chapel Facebook page.