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Chaplains partner with community, create Touch of Faith Initiative

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Madeline Baisey, 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Scott Air Force Base Chaplain Corps made history, Sept. 7, 2022, with their Touch of Faith initiative, an experimental and new way to bring spiritual fitness and resilience to Airmen. 

Currently, the Base Chapel holds services for multiple religions and serves as a spiritual resiliency resource. In recent years, Base Chapel attendance has decreased to an all-time low, and the pandemic contributed to fewer in-person events. In response to this, and with the help of the local community, this new program was created to help Airmen who are interested in joining a new protestant church. 

The Touch of Faith Initiative is a partnership for Protestant faith communities in the local area to engage with Airmen and their families. Under the guidance and sponsorship of the 375th Air Mobility Wing Chaplain Corps, eight churches from the surrounding area will come to Scott and showcase their services over the course of eight weeks. When the Air Force developed Comprehensive Airman Fitness, it was to provide an integrated framework for seeking fitness in four domains, or pillars: mental, physical, social and spiritual. To chaplains, spiritual fitness is more than just religion, it's about finding a community, finding purpose, and being able to fall back and rely on it during any situation. 

“When I think about spirituality, I think it’s deeper than religion,” explained Maj. Randy Barlow, 375th AMW chaplain. “It's the thing that gives people hope, purpose and meaning. We're touching on things that will help you find deeper meaning and give you hope and purpose.”

The Touch of Faith initiative aims to help Airmen and their families with being comfortable going to services off base. If attendance is high, the chaplain corps plans to implement this program permanently.  

“We know this is the way forward,” explained Barlow. “We know that the community can do things in a much better way than we can ever do. There will be people who don't like change, but they will eventually see this as a shift in mindset and philosophy…that's the challenge.”

The chaplain corps at Scott is looking to make this an Air Force-wide initiative, and the journey starts here as leaders look for ways to support spiritual resiliency for Airmen across the service. 

“There are eyes on this initiative because I think, deep down inside, people realize that this is probably going to be the way forward for the chaplain corps,” said Barlow. “I think it's exciting. It's amazing to be a part of this, and it's really a dream come true.” 

For more information and to attend reach out to the Base Chapel at 618-256-4060.