Yokota’s Friendship Chapel hosts virtual marriage retreat

Yokota’s Friendship Chapel hosts virtual marriage retreat

by Sheridan Fidelman
Yokota Friendship Chapel

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan - When the 374th Airlift Wing’s Yokota Friendship Chapel staff learned they would have to cancel their annual marriage retreat due to the Covid-19 outbreak, they immediately began planning an alternative.

Rather than cancelling the 2020 marriage retreat, Capt. Lance Brown, 374th AW Chaplain, wife Karen Brown, and the chapel staff hosted a virtual marriage retreat, but with a new name.

“We decided to change the name of the event to Staycation because our goal was to give Yokota couples a retreat-like experience while staying in their homes,” said Capt. Lance Brown, 374th AW Chaplain.

The Staycation consisted of three online discussions led by Capt. Lance Brown, 374th AW Chaplain and wife Karen Brown. Over the span of two days, participating couples engaged with one another and had open dialogue discussions with other couples via the online platform.

Prior to the Staycation start time, couples picked up their to-go activity kits to easily follow along the virtual program.

“These kits were great because they provided marriage building skills and could be done at one’s home,” Brown said.

The chapel also provided meals to all 20 participating couples.

“Another way we tried to keep that retreat experience feeling was by providing meals to all the couples through a delivery and pick up service,” Brown said.

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the 2020 marriage retreat was intended to be held at The New Sanno in Tokyo. While the pandemic caused a shift in those plans, it was still seen as a huge success.

“The purpose of all this was to give couples the ability to connect and invest in their marriage despite the dark cloud of Covid. It was definitely a success,” Brown said.

Capt. Lance Brown, 374th AW Chaplain, wants to give a huge shout out to his Chapel staff for putting on a very successful, first ever, Staycation!

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