Coronado Chapel Celebrates 60 Years of Service

Story Number: NNS051213-07Release Date: 12/13/2005 1:18:00 PM
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By Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Michael R. McCormick, Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- The Naval Base Coronado (NBC) Chapel celebrated its 60th anniversary during a commemoration service at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, Dec. 9.

For 60 years, the NAS North Island Chapel has been a place of worship, guidance, and comfort for service members - active and retired - and their families.

"These walls have been witness to great joys and sorrows over the past 60 years," said keynote speaker Capt. T.G. Alexander, NBC commanding officer, "and they will continue to nurture our faith, comfort our sadness and bring happiness for many years to come."

Alexander also said NBC has 140 tenant commands, with some directly involved with the war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"This chapel's role is as clearly defined today as it was many years ago," he said. "This chapel will always be an integral part of our lives."

For some service members, the NBC chapel has been an extended family. Chief Religious Program Specialist Darin Runge, leading chief petty officer of NBC religious ministries, said the chapel gives service members a sense of family and belonging.

"My husband's family has been involved with the chapel, and it always feels like home when we come," said Karen Rodgers, the chapel's Catholic Religious Education Coordinator, who attended the service. "We attend regularly and we are involved in children's religious education."

Some events in the commemoration service included songs from the Camp Pendleton Gospel Choir, a presentation of anniversary coins to chapel volunteers, and a
cake-cutting ceremony, followed by lunch after the service.

The chapel was completed in October 1945 and presented by Capt. Leslie E. Gehries, NAS North Island commanding officer, and accepted by Cmdr. P.W. Dickman, senior chaplain. The first of three dedication ceremonies was held Dec. 16, 1945, for the Protestant Altar, the second Dec. 23 for the Roman Catholic Altar, and the Jewish dedication Dec. 26.

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