SEAL team in Iraq Joins Washington Church for Virtual Communion

(April 14, 2020) – Grant Christensen, pastor of Grace Covenant Church in Bremerton, Wash., was leading his small congregation’s communion worship service, which was being livestreamed on Facebook on Palm Sunday.

Because he couldn’t see the comments under the video at the time, he didn’t realize who was joining the service. Shortly after he started, the leader of a U.S. Navy SEAL team stationed in Iraq, messaged, “Good morning from Iraq” and added, “I hope you don’t mind, I have the team under my command here with me watching.”

Grant Christensen was stunned to learn the SEAL team in Iraq had joined his congregation for communion on Palm Sunday. They also watched the Easter service.

 

As the communion portion of the service began, the commander asked, “May we take communion with you, even though we are in the military, on deployment, and not in the US at this moment?”

The church chair, Jacquie Emel Wagner, saw the request and quickly said yes.

“We don’t have red wine. We do have bread that we can use. Will that be OK?” the leader asked.

“Yes!” Wagner responded under the church’s login. “That will work fine! You can use whatever drinks you have at hand, too—we will be in our various households.”

After the service Christensen learned that the SEALs had participated. “I literally broke and cried,” he said. “I’m honored, and I’m humbled that these naval sailors would take the time to listen to the service.”

The congregation of about 50 people had not livestreamed their services until the COVID-19 crisis prevented them from meeting together. The SEAL team leader is the daughter of a church member.

Afterward, Christensen responded in the comments, “What an honor and privilege to have your whole team with me and my family along with all of us at Grace Covenant Church. Thank you for staying up to midnight to join us! Thank you beyond words for your service to our country and to each of us. Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed. You and your command will be in our prayers! Thanks again!”

She set up a projector so that her 16-member platoon and six others could watch the Easter service.

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About the Author

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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5 Comments

  1. What a wonderful story! It would be fun to see who all is watching all the services that are now online. I hope when this is over we will see new faces coming to our church buildings and joining us in worship there.

  2. Grant thank you for your long and faithful service at Bremerton. I’m so grateful that some our elite armed forces were able to join you for worship and communion. God’s amazing Peace to you and them.
    Ch Jason Knudeson, US Air Force.

  3. It is one of the blessing from this mess that we are in is that we are finding ways to reach out to people.

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