Walker's new chapel to help fuse religious services on base
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Thanks to a half-million-dollar matching fund grant by the Army’s Chief of Chaplains, the Camp Walker Chapel is getting a major face lift.
Two of three stages of renovations to the chapel are complete, officials said, and work is set to begin on the third phase: a new fellowship hall to house religious programs now scattered among the base youth center, gym or other available spaces.
Renovating the main building and chapel annex, and building the new hall, officials said, will cost almost $1 million.
“The Chief of Chaplains offered to match anything that the base would be willing to pay for donations,” said Maj. Rich Bendorf, a Camp Walker chaplain. “We took it to our commander, and he approved our half of the funding, so it’s on its way to being done.”
The matching funds are provided by the Chapel Tithes and Offerings Fund, a worldwide collection redistributed to base chapels for special projects or proposals.
The work’s first two phases included refurbishing the old sanctuary, several office spaces, bathrooms and the chapel’s kitchen.
“I don’t know exactly how old the chapel is, but one of the workers who’s been here for a long time said the same fridge has been in the kitchen for 25 years,” Bendorf said.
Fixes to the office spaces were hailed as a way to remove clutter from the chapel.
“When I first got here, we had 18 footlockers filled with supplies. Now we have built-in shelves for storage,” said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Kang, the Area IV chapel’s noncommissioned officer in charge.
The chapel annex has been refitted with fiber-optic lines for phones and computers and also now has moveable walls that will allow more groups to use the facility at the same time.
“We’ve got extremely high usage,” Bendorf said. “The facilities are tied up almost every night of the week.”
Work on the new fellowship hall was scheduled for December 2004 completion, Bendorf said, but the hall likely will be available for use by summer’s end.