A service held July 16 to rededicate the Hill Chapel had at least seven spiritual leaders of various faiths directly participating in the ceremony with Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) David Cyr, Deputy Chief of Chaplains, as keynote speaker.
The chapel, laid out in oak paneling of a light golden hue, matching pews and stained glass mosaic windows was a sharp contrast to before and Cyr noted in his remarks that just being there prompted one to look up.
"You can't help but look around and look up," he said.
"This is going to be a wonderful place in which to worship and to come together as communities of faith to share in that great worship of a mighty God, You're going to have good days ahead of you and your staff and the team that is assembled here -- Team Hill," he said to those assembled.
After words of greeting and some remarks about his early days as a chaplain in Alaska, the chaplain brought to mind the building of the edifice now known as the Temple of Solomon, and how David, as a king of Israel, had first held the vision of what was to be built. It was a process brought to fruition, finally during the time of King Solomon.
Of David, Cyr said, "He was one that so loved the Lord that he had a heart that was after God's heart."
Cyr talked about David's desire "to have a place for God to walk and there to dwell within."
"The building was built not for the people. It was built for the glory of God," he said.
Cyr included in his remarks thanks that the government cares about the faith of its people in the military, that the funds were found, that the workmen came together for such a project and that all this happened during financially austere times.
"This is sacred space set aside that we might worship God," the chaplain said. He also briefly described a request he'd once had that someone might use a chapel sanctuary for a chili cook-off. His reply: "Not on my watch." Cyr charged the current chaplain, Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Kenneth Chandler, 75th Air Base Wing chaplain to forgo requests such as these or he'd be back to talk to him.
On a more serious note, Cyr noted the beautiful surroundings and that God must be there.
Cyr offered a series of spiritual bequests for the space.
"The need for prayer is so critically important to us - the ability to communicate with our Creator. Prayers take place in this place," he began as he talked about the purposes of such sacred space.
"I would think that this would become a place perhaps where people could come and be forgiven of past unforgiveness.
"Somebody has said that our greatest need is to be forgiven. So may it be in this place. People could come and have forgiveness.
"May this also be a place for healing," he added as he recounted his own particular community of faith's tradition in regards to healing.
"This is a place where we can come for that physical healing, the healing of relationships or emotional healing. God can heal in this place.
"It should be appropriately a house where people find hope. This is a busy time for the military. We're all of us, (experiencing this) in every generation, but especially some of us involved in the (current conflicts) are going on continuous deployments. It takes a toll on our families and Airmen and so it is we pray that in this place they may come amid the uncertainties and stress and anxiety. We pray that they will find hope for their soul here.
"And then lastly, I say this: May this be a house of peace and may chaplains, chaplains' assistants and lay leadership who are here together lay a revelation of the peace of God," he said as he concluded the last of his bequests.
Cyr briefly talked about meeting with a powerful imam of the Middle East who had come to the Pentagon for assistance with dealing with a parking structure.
The spiritual leader reported the spiritual leader as saying something along these lines before he left: "Chaplain, we might not agree across the board, philosophically, theologically or otherwise but I feel like on one key point we all agree regardless of what our belief is and that is that we pray for God's peace to spread throughout the world -- throughout the land that peace and justice will prevail."
Chaplain Cyr congratulated Team Hill on the chapel and said, "And so it is that I pray in this place that we will be not only his bearers of hope but peace as well.
His final quotation was Psalms (xxxx)
Praise be to the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed - all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us as he was the God of our Fathers. May he never leave us nor forsake us. May we turn our hearts to him, walk holy and keep the commands decreed and make fulfillment that he gave our fathers.
Several communities of faith at Hill Air Force Base will share the newly rededicated space. Four formal prayers were delivered dedicating the space by representatives of different faiths and the Hill Air Force Base Choir and musicians delivered two rousing anthems of celebration. Base leadership attended and Col. Patrick Higby, 75th Air Base Wing commander, and Chaplain Crooks briefly gave remarks and thanks for the culmination of all that had had to take place to accomplish the project
Workmen involved in the project were present to see the culmination of their work and were met with great applause.
A reception followed the ceremony in the Chapel Annex.