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Offerings at the chapel go long way

INCIRLIK AIR BASe, Turkey -- For people who attend Chapel services during the week, a time comes for those attendees to give tithes and offerings. With so many Chapel services under one roof, many wonder how all of the tithes and offerings given by chapel service attendees are used. 

The literal meaning of tithe, as defined in biblical passages, is tenth. Biblical characters tithed, or gave a tenth of their income, as a way of giving thanks to God following significant events, like victory in battle. 

"A tithe is a biblical mandate and an offering is a sacrifice over and beyond a persons tithe," said Chaplain (Capt.) Crystal Jones, 39th Air Base Wing Protestant chaplain.
She added that in biblical text, offerings were used to support people either build or maintain buildings. For example, offerings were used to build the Tabernacle of Moses and Solomon's Temple. 

Incirlik Chapel tithes and offerings are a vital part of chapel operations. The donations are used for many mission requirements and special community projects both on and off base. 

"It is important to note that the chapel staff are stewards of the tithes and offerings offered by the men and women of Incirlik," Chaplain (Maj.) Kenneth Reyes, 39th Air Base Wing chaplain. "We ensure the integrity of the chapel funds." 

Chapel funds are managed in accordance with AFI 52-105, Chaplain Service Chapel Tithes and Offering Funds, to ensure chapel resources are purchased correctly. The chapel has two sources of monies to work from, appropriated funds and CTOF. 

Appropriated funds are primarily used for ministry, people, resources and technology. These areas encompass the programs which make the chapel work such as manpower, musicians, choir directors, training, religious activities coordinators, auxiliary chaplains and special activities. 

"We take great care to differentiate between appropriated funds and CTOF," said Chaplain Reyes. "Appropriated funds are distributed through the wing's budgeting process to provide quality pastoral care for the wing, while CTOF funds are given by individuals to enhance their spiritual growth and to support the chapel's mission only when appropriated funds are not available." 

In addition to improvements and morale programs on base, chapel offerings are also used to assist those in nearby Adana. 

"Last year our chapel gave more than $35,000 in designated offerings to a variety of organizations," said Tech. Sgt. Timothy Storer, 39th ABW chapel resource NCO in charge. "With private donations in addition to designated offerings, the chapel community gave $25,000 to help build a house and a church in Adana. 

In addition, the chapel has also donated clothing, furniture; paint and time to upgrade a local orphanage, and shared in helping poor families obtain needed clothing through the Adana Hands of Compassion organization. They were the point of contact to give used furniture from the wing to a local elementary school in Adana. The chapel also raised more than $3,000 during a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser and was instrumental in Pakistan and Lebanon relief efforts. 

Weekly, after collections, the funds are deposited in the chapel safe and within 48 hours are deposited into the USAFE chaplain service checking account. The checks and cash are counted and deposited by the 39th Services Squadron and 39th Comptroller Squadron and then electronically transferred to the USAFE account. 

There are three accountants to manage all the chapel funds in USAFE, so areas are divided by region of responsibility. Each year, headquarters keeps 4.5 percent of all funds received by the Incirlik Chapel to pay for the consolidated accounting services. 

"Incirlik keeps about 96 percent of all funds collected," said Sergeant Storer. "Parish advisory councils, financial working groups and chapel leadership determine how the money we keep is spent." 

The chapel also uses tithes and offerings to support spiritual pilgrimages to places like Cyprus and the Seven Church's tour, as well as, locally-provided programs such as Crossroads Café, Club Beyond, Follower's Feast, Protestant and Catholic men, women, youth and children of the chapel activities. 

Annually, several parish-selected charities reap the benefits of all the donations on predetermined Sundays. Annually, all Air Force chapels give one of their designated offerings to the Air Force chief of chaplains for programs to benefit the community.
This offering aids in funding conferences, spiritual reconstitution, emergencies, retreats for chaplains and many other programs. 

For more information about chapel services call the chapel at 676-6441.