For the most part of our Air Force time, we have avoided the base chapel at all cost. At our first base, we attended and hated it. It was very small and the service was dry and boring. After a search in the town our apartment was we found a really nice church where we meet some wonderful friends. In fact that group of friends still keep in touch and several have been know to come to visit us and even read this blog!! (A nice round of No Mercy, anyone???)
Since then for the most part our friends come from the church we attend. There have been a few friends from our neighbors or from OSI, and that makes them special to us, but we know we need to be in a good church where not only for Drew and I to meet people, but also for our kids.
We did attend chapel for a brief time in Japan, but once again - hated it. At that chapel they seem to avoid saying the name, Jesus....not sure why. It was always God or the Lord, but never Jesus. For us to not say the Name above all names was telling that their hearts were not in the right place and so not the right place for us. We found a church off base that had English-spoken services and love it.
So when we started to plan to move here, we really didn't give the chapel much thought - we sort of dismissed it out of hand. But after we got here and realized that most of the off base churches were 20-30 minutes away and maybe in Chamarrow not English we started to re-think the chapel thing.
We were very pleasantly surprised. What a great service! The music was up-to-date (and loud...I like it loud) and the preaching was good as well. Sunday school was not held during the summer with to many on vacation to the Mainland and moving, but this past two Sundays we have had class. Drew and I were both very impressed with the teacher for our class (and doughnuts are involved - always a plus for Sunday school).
One interesting thing with chapel is that once a month a visiting Chaplin preaches. Because there are so many deployed people here - both active duty as well as different state's national guard -there is always at least one deployed chaplain here to serve the deployed members.
One of our first Sundays (about our 2nd or 3rd one) here was the Sunday for the visiting chaplain to preach. It was lady Chaplin. Now for those of you who did not grow up Catholic or Southern Baptist like Drew and I, this may not seem like a big deal. But it was a first for us. It was quite different.
Later I asked Drew what he thought: "I kept trying to think that I wasn't really in church and it really wasn't Sunday. But other than that she was fine." Yep...me, too.