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Mormon services offered during drill weekends

On Feb. 4, U.S. Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa announced that the 39th Air Base Wing Chapel was the recipient of the 2014 USAFE-AFFRICA Medium Chapel of the Year Award. This year, the Incirlik Chapel competed against Aviano and Mildenhall air bases. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

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ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Airmen here now have another religious service available to them during drill weekends at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base.

A service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) was held on Sunday, May 3, 2015. The start of this new service was driven by the work of LDS Airmen looking to not miss out on Sunday services during their drill weekend.

"We aim to meet the spiritual needs and welfare of our Airmen," said Father (Lt. Col.) Tom Ludwig, catholic chaplain assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing. "When sergeant Winkie came to us, we helped find a space on base for their services."

The service was led by Tech. Sgt. Robb Winkie, a finance specialist from the 139th Comptroller Flight.

Previously, Winkie said, the only option for LDS Airmen at Rosecrans to attend church services on Sunday drill would have been to drive to the north side of St. Joseph, taking them out of their work for several hours.  This was not a realistic option, so they sought approval from regional LDS church leadership to hold services on base.

"The president of this [region] said let's do it.  Let's make it happen," said Winkie.
Winkie said LDS members are fortunate in this area of the country to be located close to the Kansas City temple, one of 140 such temples found worldwide.  Temples are reserved for special LDS services and ceremonies.

The LDS church has embraced technology by creating an app for smart phones and tablets which includes a library of useful books and tools, like the Bible, the Book of Mormon, a hymnal, and much more.

According to Winkie, during a typical LDS service sermons are delivered from computer tablets and church members read scriptures from their smart phones.

LDS services are held in the Force Support Squadron training room in the administration building. The time is the same as Catholic and Protestant services, 8:30 a.m. on Sundays of drill weekend.

"Services are open and everyone is welcome," said Winkie.