Religious education has something for everyone

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Most servicemembers and their families know the base chapel offers weekly services for different faiths. 

What some may not know, however, is the chapel also offers religious education classes throughout the week. 

The programs are geared toward both children and adults, giving all ages an extra helping of spiritual guidance. Unfortunately, due to lack of participation, these programs are in need of volunteers. 

"I was on this base for two years, before I even knew about these programs," said Sonia Polinsky, who recently took over as the religious education coordiantor for Protestants. "So now it's about getting the word out and letting people know we're here. If we all work together, we can maybe make something happen." 

While some people may prefer to drive off base for their spiritual needs, the chapel's religious education programs offer a unique environment. 

"The military is such a unique environment," Ms. Polinsky said. "It's a very tight-knit group because we go through things that people on the outside never experience. This is one more way for people to bond." 

Getting to know neighbors and fellow servicemembers is just one benefit. Another is getting a chance to give back to the community through volunteering. Volunteer opportunities abound in these programs, for both adults and teens. Teens 15 and up, for example, can volunteer for the upcoming Vacation Bible School here. 

Volunteering has quite a few benefits, Ms. Polinsky said. First off is the education factor. One may not be a follower of a faith, but just being educated about the beliefs of others makes for a more diverse person. 

Some of the different courses and opportunities to volunteer include: 

Vacation Bible School: VBS will combine fun and religious education to enhance the children's spiritual growth and comprehension. This course, 1 - 4 p.m. June 16-20, is for children ages 3 to 12. 

Children's Church - This is for ages 3 to 8 and runs simultaneously with Protestant church service - 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. 

Sunday school - Bible study for all ages conducted in between both Sunday morning services. 

Global Hearts - Dads can volunteer to share in "rough and tumble" play with the children of deployed Airmen. 

Mother's of Preschoolers - A Bible study time, encouraging and teaching women to raise their children with their religion in mind. 

Protestant Women of the Chapel - This group is not just for Protestant women. Participants conduct Bible studies, go to conferences and look to inspire their spiritual growth. Protestant Men of the Chapel is the same type of program, but for men. 

Puggles - An Awana program for children 3 and under. Puggles learn simple lessons through teaching cards, activities, music and more. 

Cubbies - This Awana program is for children 4 to 5 years old. This program teaches children about spirituality through games, puppets, crafts and more. 

Sparks - Another Awana program, this time for 6 and 7 year olds. It builds on the previous programs, delving deeper into Biblical teachings. 

Truth & Training - An Awana program for children 8 to 11, this group gets even more in depth in Bible study. 

Catholic religious education - This service includes classes for each age from 3 to 13 years old. It is held every Sunday from 8:30 - 9:30 a.m., before mass. 

Sacramental classes - This class is also for children, starting from 2nd graders on up, and prepares them for their first communion and confirmation. 

Right of Christian Initiation for Adults - This course, which runs September through Easter, is for adults who want to become a Catholic. 

For more information on religious education, contact the Vandenberg Chapel at 606-5773.