Christians come together to celebrate Easter at JBB

Story and photo by Sgt. John Stimac
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — More than 250 Christian service members and civilians came together for an Easter sunrise service April 4 at Holt Memorial Stadium at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

The one-hour service featured performances by the Provider Chapel band and members of the inspirational praise dance team.

Maj. Camilla Wood, the assistant acquisition logistics technician director with the 402nd Army Field Support Brigade and a Huntsville, Ala., native, said the dance team is part of the Provider Chapel dance auxiliary and is used as an outreach program.

"Normally we use three weeks rehearsal time for events like these," she said.

Wood said the team considers its dance more of a ministry than a performance.

"We're actually uplifting the name of God and helping people understand his word through dance," she said.

Of the 12 team members, nine performed on Easter, said Wood.

"We have a great group of people who love to take forth the word of God through dance," she said.

Lt. Col. Roy T. Walker, head chaplain with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), said they had been planning the sunrise service for almost three months.

"Our job was to (see) that all the programs were put together, sound systems were set up, an inclement weather plan (was in place) and advertising was taken care of," he said.

Walker, an Elizabethtown, Ky., native, said the 13th SC(E) and the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing came together for the event.

"The Army took the lead to make it happen and we worked with the Air Force and split the duties down the middle," he said.

What made the service special was that almost every unit ministry team was represented, said Walker.

"Even though we are thousands of miles from home, we all have become part of history," he said. "Watching the sunrise come up in the cradle of civilization on Easter is something that you will tell your grandchildren about, and it's turning this time away from home into a time of opportunity."

Staff Sgt. Samuel I. Shoemate, the security manager noncommissioned officer in charge with the 13th SC(E) and a Windsor, Colo., native, said he thought the service was powerful. It was not about being of a certain denomination, said Shoemate, it was about coming together and praising the risen Savior.

"Very rarely do so many believers from so many different backgrounds and denominations get to come together to worship as one," he said.


news photo
The inspirational praise dance team shares its message with service members and civilians, at the Easter sunrise service April 4 at Holt Memorial Stadium at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.