- Unitarian Universalism Connection
This requests your support for lay-led weekly Unitarian Universalist religious services in the chapel at the Navy’s Great Lakes, Illinois boot camp.
Every single Navy recruit across the nation comes to Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training Command for their initial 8 weeks of “boot camp” basic training. It converts civilians to sailors. The vast majority are young kids, fresh out of high school – innocent, eager, energetic, and earnest in so many ways.
Since 2007, the Unitarian Universalist Military Ministry Great Lakes (UUMMGL) has offered weekly worship at Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, IL (northern suburbs of Chicago). Navy chaplains serve the major faith groups, but the remaining faiths, like Unitarian Universalists, are served by volunteer lay leaders.
Because there is such a variety of religious services available, the Navy encourages the recruits to try out new denominations during their time at Great Lakes. In 2016, more than 500 recruits attended our UU services. Some come from a UU background, but for many this is their first exposure to Unitarian Universalism. They are very curious about who we are and what we have to offer. Some of the recruits become UUs and/or send their friends to us.
Basic training is a 24/7 boot camp experience. But when they walk into our chapel on Sunday mornings, they are honored as unique individuals and find a safe space. Worship is young adult style, with chants/hymns, joys and concerns, an inspirational reading, shared reflections, and a brief introduction to Unitarian Universalism.
Recruits can: express themselves; wrestle with their deepest beliefs, values and conscience in the context of their Navy service; learn what a free and liberal religion offers them; explore or deepen their spiritual lives; and have a chance to briefly recover their humanity during the Navy’s extremely rigorous training. Joys and Concerns is a vital and often emotional component of the service for them.
All participants receive a copy of the UU military ministry prayer/meditation manual Bless All Who Serve. It’s the second most requested religious literature, after the Bible. Returning recruits are offered a copy of the UUA young adult prayer/meditation manual Becoming.
The UU Military Ministry at Great Lakes is supported by about 10 local UU congregations in the Chicago area. We are asking for Faithify donors to help us make our 2017-18 budget ($7000 ministerial coordinator, $2300 books, supplies, web site and cost of doing business). Local congregations have provided $4000. We need $5300 more.
Can you chip in to provide the rest?