Thursday, January 18, 2007

Great Lakes RTC Ministry Project

Beginning January 28th, 2007, students of the Meadville Lombard Theological School, in coordination with the UUMM and the Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL, will begin presenting Sunday morning UU worship services at the Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinios.

Approximately 40,000 naval recruits per year train at the Great Lakes RTC, and the chapel on post presents over 30 worship services each and every Sunday. The goal of the Great Lakes Ministry Project is not only to provide UU services for sailors who are already UU's, but also to provide an opportunity for those interested in our faith to attend UU Worship, and to learn more about our movement of religious liberalism. This project presents us with the opportunity to reach more than 1,000 young women and men per year with a message of Unitarian Univeralsim.

The project also provides for our Meadville Lombard seminary students valuable experience at the practical aspects of ministry, leading worship, and chaplaincy. Funded initially by collections taken at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, the students donate their time, only receiving reimbursement for travel and worship material costs.

If you would like to see some of the worship services and sermons that are being presented at the Great Lakes Recruit Training Center, then please visit The Military Chapel Services section of Celestial Lands.

We will be putting the services presented by David Pyle into that blog/journal. We will post links to the services of other project members as they become available.

If you are interested in learing more about the Great Lakes Ministry Project, or you would like to support the continuance of the project, please contact David Pyle through the UUMM website.


David Pyle said...

UUMM and the Great Lakes Military Ministry Project would like to thank the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF) for providing the project with pamphlets and brochures on Unitarian Universalism and the CLF that can be handed out to interested sailors at the Great Lakes Recruit Training Command!

Thank you Rev. Rzepka, Lorraine Dennis, and the CLF Board!

David Pyle said...

The Great Lakes Ministry Project would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the Unitarian Church of Evanston Illinois, for including us in their 2007 end of the year "Special Opportunity" fundraiser.

The generous members of UCE raised over $1,000 to fund the travel expenses of the UU Seminary Students who are conducting this ministry.

Thank you Rev. Pescan, Rev. Sinnamon, and the UCE Members and Board.

2LT David Pyle, CC, USAR said...

I am posting this email from one of our Great Lakes Worship Associates, Michael L. on his expeirence with the Recruits at Great Lakes...

I don't know what you all have been doing up there at Great Lakes these past few weeks but whatever it was it must have been awesome. I had 26 Orders of Service and I was probably 8-10 short. In other words, we must have had around 35 recruits today. And more important was all the incredible feedback I heard from a large number of recruits who have been coming for several weeks now (and who seem to be getting their friends to come).
Comments such as:

"The first time I walked in here I felt like being home."
"It's the one time during the week that I feel refreshed. I was in a bad mood last night, and this morning, but now I feel great. And that has happened for the past five weeks now."
"It's always so peaceful the service. It's the one time during the week I can just sit back."
"Don't change anything about the service. You guys are doing a great job."

Lots of "seps" as usual, but also quite a few 1-1s who were excited about returning next week (and bring some of their buddies along. So whoever is going next Sunday should probably have at least 40 OoSs in their bag. :-)

It was a truly uplifting experience (once again). Thanks to Seanan (and
David) for giving us the opportunity to be involved in this great service.


Thank you Michael for your time and talent in bringing UU worship to our service members... And to all the Worship Associates at Great Lakes.

We are doing amazing work with the recruits, providing a voice of Liberal Faith at this transitional time in their lives. If you would like to support the project, please contact us at

Yours in Faith

David Pyle

Jill said...

My son is a recruit at Great Lakes Naval Training. We are UU's from Unitarian Church North, Mequon. When my son sent me an Order of service from a UU service on base we were thrilled to tears! Thanks Evanston UU's, Chaplain volunteers and all the other people who are making this happen! What a loving wonderful thing! He said, "Mom, you couldn't drag me to church the last few years but I am going and I like it. There is even another UU recruit in my group!" You are doing an incredible service to my son and my whole family AND introducing the faith to new people! WOW!

David Pyle said...


I met your son last week, and this coming Sunday he will be lighting the chalice for us. Thank you very much for your kind comments. Basic Training is one of the times that we of liberal faith need our faith the most... and also for our servicemembers to know that we are still their church, while they serve.

I would like to ask a favor... would you be willing to post this same (or an expanded) comment on the new CLF Military Ministry Website? Specifically in the section for Military Families? the website is and then click through the front page to the main site.

You will see the families forum in the upper left of the screen below the CLF logo in the list with other forums... and you will need to register. The site is for you as well, to explore what it means to be a UU military familiy.

Thank you again for your kind words.

Yours in faith,


Jill said...

Dear David -
I hope I wrote this in the right place! My pleasure to do this. I will be asking my church to add your group to our monthly sharing the plate list if this is okay. Maybe it will help buy something you need for the recruits or the ministry! Please let me know if this is okay:
Lighting the chalice huh - and he agreed - who said UU's dont work miracles! HA! Peace, Jill