The Command Religious Program The intentions of the religious program
in the Navy are broad. The most explicit of them are to provide for the free
exercise of worship among personnel of all faith groups, to offer religious
education and personal counselling in religious matters, and to undertake the
general enhancement of spiritual values among Navy personnel.
In addition, there may be offered, within the facilities of the religious
program, human services of various kinds to groups and individuals. All these,
having their basis in the free exercise of religion, contribute to the
building of community identity and cohesion, and to the assertion, overt or
implied, of human relatedness under God.
The Necessary Shelter. To support the varied activities, structures
are supplied having some spaces of specific function and others of flexible
Corporate worship and private devotional experience are supported by the
provision of worship space for all religious communities. Leadership may rest
with Navy chaplains, with nonmilitary clergy, or with nonprofessionals. Ritual
events, such as baptisms, weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, memorial services
and various commemorations are also accommodated.
Religious education for service personnel, their families and other
personnel associated with military bases may include persons from 3 years of
age through adulthood. Such programs are intended to serve all faith groups;
they are led by professional Navy personnel, by civilians under contract, and
by volunteers. They may be very extensive on larger naval or Marine Corps
bases, and may require a large amount of area of varied types. Religious
counselling for individuals or groups occupies consequential amounts of the
Fellowship and social activities need to be accommodated. Times of social
encounter may precede and follow worship times or other ritual events and may
be accompanied by food and drink. Other events--may be planned also where
refreshments and light meals are appropriate.
The facilities are commonly only open to many nonsectarian assemblies
and activities. Among them may be on the one hand, nonreligious educational
training and testing programs; on the other, musical or theatrical events,
dances, cinema, lectures, and discussions. And the facility may supply shelter
for clubs, youth groups, women's groups, the Red Cross, Alcoholics Anonymous,
and so forth.