POINT MUGU (NNS) – The Chapel of Faith onboard Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Point Mugu has resumed regular worship services for the first time since April 20, 2014.
In 2022, Cmdr. Song Hwang, chaplain, NBVC, began announcing the needs for religious support and partnerships on base through community outreach.
“We’ve been listening to the needs of Sailors and their families about providing services at Point Mugu,” said Hwang. “We reached out to local leaders and churches of all-faiths and hosted the first-ever faith group leadership conference at the Seabee Museum. Calvary Chapel of Oxnard accepted our call for action.”
The Chapel of Faith, often referred to as Victory Chapel, or Mugu Chapel, held it’s first outreach during the “Celebration of Christmas,” a seasonal service that was attended by nearly 200.
“NBVC Chaplains Hwang and Rivera invited us to join them in this fundamental activity of the Christian faith,” said the Rev. Eric Robbins, outreach director, Calvary Chapel. “Frankly, our volunteers jumped at the opportunity to minister the spiritual needs of our service members.”
At least 60 volunteers to help
Calvary Chapel of Oxnard provides approximately 60-volunteers (many Navy-retirees) registered and trained as Worship Providers under the supervision of the Navy Command Chaplain.
Religious and spiritual support are essential for mission readiness.”-Cmdr. Song Hwang.
“Ultimately, they have a heart for serving and blessing the families of Point Mugu,” said Hwang. “Religious and spiritual support are essential for mission readiness but with the Navy in a cycle of shortage for Chaplain and Religious Petty Officer billets, community support is critical.”
Capt. Robert “Barr” Kimnach III, commanding officer, NBVC noted that base-growth will increase manning personnel and the demand for mission readiness services.
“We need to enhance use of our existing facilities,” said Kimnach. “Our Chaplain staff is doing a remarkable job with this and setting the example of how NBVC partners with the community.”
The Mugu sanctuary can host 300 people. According to Hwang, the current services draw approximately 80-100 attendees.
“I prayed for the Mugu Chapel to open,” said Rachel, a resident of Point Mugu. “Now I can walk to service and enjoy the beautiful A-Frame building and historic stained-glass window.”
“The Lord of All Space”
Called “The Lord of All Space,” the stained-glass window measures 37.5-by-7-feet and is one of 15 stained-glass windows in the building. It depicts Christ with one foot on the sea, one on land and his head in the far reaches of space. Under the water is a futuristic city and a space craft.
The Chapel of Faith was dedicated in 1961 and at the time called the “Chapel of Faith for the Space Age.”
In its early years, the chapel bustled with activity.
In 1964, 513 services were conducted in the chapel. Attendance that year totaled 36,569, and there were 37 baptisms, 30 weddings and five funerals. According to Hwang, despite a society-wide drop in church attendance, there is still a high demand for military religious service.
Pastor Robbins agrees with Hwang.
“We’ve seen a steady growth of attendance and volunteers with the core being NBVC family and children,” said Robbins.
The Point Mugu Chapel of Faith holds monthly Protestant worship services every fourth-Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Thursday evening women’s bible study group, Saturday morning men’s bible study group and special seasonal services for Christmas and Easter. The Chapel is also available for baptisms, memorials, retirements, weddings, and funerals.
NBVC is a strategically located Naval installation composed of three operating facilities: Point Mugu, Port Hueneme and San Nicolas Island. NBVC is the home of the Pacific Seabees, West Coast E-2D Hawkeyes, 3 warfare centers and 80 tenants.