Carl Vinson Religious Ministries Department Expands Service


Story Number: NNS090319-10Release Date: 3/19/2009 12:21:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ashley Van Dien, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The Religious Ministries department (RMD) aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) is expanding services for the crew, in March, as the ship prepares to leave the shipyard and become an operational aircraft carrier.

For the last three years, the ship's religious ministries team has, at times, been limited as to the support they could provide the crew while Carl Vinson was undergoing refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va. Now they are looking to expand that support.

Carl Vinson's RMD team is made up of a diverse staff that is available to help the Sailors achieve their personal goals and address the spiritual needs of the crew in support of the command's overall mission.

RMD has recently started several new classes to help Sailors adjust to life in the Navy and life at home. There is a stress management class that takes place every Thursday at noon in the ship's chapel. There is also the upcoming Sailor Life Skills program, which will cover topics such as finance, relationships, anxiety and better decision-making.

Chaplains also provide confidential counseling and Sailors can either walk in or make an appointment to speak with them. Additionally, chaplains can help Sailors by providing or recommending additional outside resources.

"All of us are trained in different counseling techniques, so that we can take care of Sailors' needs," said Lt. Cmdr. Glenda Jennings-Harrison, a Carl Vinson chaplain. "We meet people where they are."

There are several ways that Sailors can become involved with and benefit from RMD services and support. One way is through community relations (COMREL) projects. Vinson Sailors actively participate in numerous COMRELs year round, such as the Newport News downtown clean up March 11.

"It is beneficial for Sailors to give back to the community," said Religious Program Specialist 3rd Class Sandra Hosier. "It makes the Sailor well-rounded, and also establishes a positive, visible role in the community."

As the ship nears its completion of RCOH and prepares for sea trials, RMD is looking for volunteers to step up as lay leaders underway. A lay leader is the facilitator for their specific faith community. Volunteers receive a day of training and a designation letter from the commanding officer. RMD is also looking for singers and musicians for the ship's choir.

The chaplains hold several religious services throughout the week. There is a Bible study on Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. and a Pentecostal church service on Sundays at 8:30 a.m. Both are held in the ship's chapel.

"Our goal is to give Sailors life tools to put in their tool bag," said Lt. Marlin Williams, a chaplain. "That way, when they encounter situations, they will already have the tools they need to be successful."

For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/ .

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