Local

October 18, 2013

Gospel service celebrates 40 years

Tags:
JAYSON BURNS
Thunderbolt staff writer

The contemporary gospel service poses for a group photo during their first anniversary in 1974.

The Luke Community Chapel contemporary gospel service celebrated its 40th anniversary Sunday with the theme “Forty Years of Grace and Mercy.”

“The gospel service has such a rich history, but one of the facts that most people might not know is that the Air Force did not reintroduce chaplains to oversee the gospel service at Luke Air Force Base until 1996,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Kenya Gray, 56th Fighter Wing Chapel.

First established by Col. David Rathjen, former installation chaplain and now retired, the gospel service has been alive on Luke since 1973.

“My intention was to present the truth; it was the main thing,” Rathjen said about the gospel service. “Evidently it’s been very good. Obviously it must’ve been successful.”

Originally overseen by Chaplain James Calloway, the position was eventually given to his close friend Reverend Lee Montague. The late Montague had to seek permission from the Air Force’s Chief of Chaplains Office in Washington, D.C., as well as the Luke gospel service.

“Reverend Montague led by word and by deed,” Gray said. “He was a great teacher, mentor and organizer. He was the early visionary and the driving force behind the gospel service for 23 years.”
Montague passed away on May 19, 2004. He is survived by his wife, Shirley, who has played the service’s piano for the last 40 years. Mrs. Montague’s musicianship and leadership will be another point of recognition during the 40th anniversary celebration.

“It’s been a blessing in my life and for lots of people,” Montague said. “It was a unified thing, it was a church meant for all. I’m just grateful God used me for this service.”

“This year may be an end of an era for her as all of our music contracts were cut from appropriated funding,” Gray said. “We had to cut four fully funded contract music positions down to two, one for each Protestant service.”

For many involved with the gospel service, it has been a long yet fulfilling journey. Virginia Ponder, an usher for the service since its beginning, has many good memories of their history on base, one of which was when the church did not have a pool to baptize in, and Luke Air Force Base obliged them.

“When people needed to be baptized, the base opened the pool to the people,” Ponder said.

After 40 years of serving the spiritual needs of service members and their families, the contemporary gospel service meets at 10 a.m. Sundays in the Luke Community Chapel.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy Photo

Luke 1 holds first commander’s call

Courtesy Photo Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, begins his first commander’s call at Luke Air Force Base Monday. Pleus took command of the fighter wing June 20. Brig. Gen Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing com...
 
 

Balance, key to successful AF life

I believe proper balance is the key to a successful life in the Air Force. Over the years I’ve come to realize that it takes a concentrated effort to maintain balance between a professional life as an Air Force member and personal or family life. Both require constant learning, adjustments, development and attention. It’s easy...
 
 

Avoid claustrophobic career

I have heard many times that education is the great equalizer. The Air Force takes in people of all races, cultures and backgrounds and unifies them under simple beliefs and values. The enlisted force structure serves as the common language for force development, and education plays a major role. We all know education creates opportunity,...
 

 
James Hensley

No one flies until flight med gives OK

James Hensley Airman 1st Class Shawn Martinez, 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight medicine technician, checks over the ambulance Aug. 19 with Staff Sgt. Jovanny Reyes, 56th AMDS medical technician, at Luke Air Force Base. ...
 
 

News Briefs August 29, 2014

Gate hours change The South Gate Visitor Registration Center hours have changed. They are 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Effective Tuesday, the North Gate is open inbound and outbound 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Also on Tuesday, the Kachina Gate will open inbound and outbound 6 a.m. to 10...
 
 

THUNDERBOLT OF THE WEEK

Senior Airman Brian Comia 56th Force Support Squadron Services journeyman Hometown: San Lorenzo, California Years in service: Three Family: Wife, Phoebe; daughters, Sophia and Isabella Inspirations: My family Goals: My short-term goal is to make staff sergeant next year Greatest feat: Becoming a U.S. citizen and having the pleasure and honor of serving this country...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin