MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
On a gray cloudy morning while most are pushing their snooze button to get just a few more minutes, a group of gentlemen sit in the corner of a mess hall to discuss life, over breakfast.
A group of Marines and sailors gather at the Camp Pendleton’s Del Mar mess hall every Tuesday morning to discuss and share thoughts on topics in a book that they relate to their own lives.
“We started the group about six months ago,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Isaac T. Black, motor transportation maintenance chief, logistics division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. “Wanting to study something with a spiritual aspect is what brought us together.”
Currently the group is studying the book “A Man After God’s Own Heart.”
“Sharing your faith is something you don’t want to keep within,” said Col. Steve B. Nichols, assistant chief of staff, logistics division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. “Any group like this is a good idea. It’s a positive time.”
Since the group only takes it a chapter at a time it doesn’t take too much time to be prepared for the gatherings, said Nichols. It allows Marines and sailors to get together and just share thoughts in a stress-free environment.
The hour-long discussion gives Marines and sailors a chance to relate a chapter to their own lives and share their interpretation of the chapter with others.
“You don’t have to know about theology or know about the Bible, it’s about what’s in your heart, learning and learning from others,” Nichols said.
The study is designed not only to help the Marines and sailors learn more about another’s beliefs but also to help them learn more about themselves.
Marines come from all walks of life, said Master Sgt. Edwin R. Holloway, operations chief for logistics division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. “Ninety days of boot camp aren’t going to change what 18 or 19 years of life have done to a person.”
“It’s not about rank, we’re all equal in our group,” Black said. “Everyone’s opinion is just as important.”
Discussions are not led by a single person, and each individual can participate as much or as little as they want.
A few chaplains joined the group but are not responsible for leading it, Nichols said. “They are just participants sharing.”
The group was actually started by a few men who just wanted to share their faith with others, said Cmdr. David D. Schilling, chaplain for I Marine Headquarters Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force. He’s been going for a few months now.
“It’s not about us as believers, it’s about sharing what we believe,” Black said. “Everyone is welcome. We’re not here to change anyone.”
For more information on joining the group contact Cmdr. Schilling at 760-763-6960.