USAREUR chaplains host spiritual fitness forum

USAREUR senior leaders participate in the discussion on leading through integrity during a spiritual fitness forum held Tuesday. USAREUR Chaplain (Col.) Ray Bailey (right) facilitated the discussion of spiritual well being. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Maj. Lisa Hunter)

USAREUR chaplains host spiritual fitness forum

By Sgt. Maj. Lisa M. Hunter, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
February 25, 2011

HEIDELBERG, Germany --

At an early morning gathering Jan. 25, more than 40 U.S. Army Europe senior leaders and staff members here assembled for a breakfast of scrambled eggs with a side order of resilience.

Hosted by the USAREUR Chaplains Office, the breakfast was the first in a series of spiritual fitness forums hosted by the USAREUR Chaplains Office.

USAREUR Chaplain (Col.) Ray Bailey facilitated a discussion amongst the participants on integrity – doing what’s right, legally and morally right. Bailey used several quotes and passages from FM 6-22, Army Leadership, along with questions to guide the discussion. 

Gen. Carter Ham, the USAREUR commander, kicked off the "Leading through integrity” spiritual fitness forum with a discussion that helped to clarify what spirituality is and isn’t. Ham explained that many Soldiers now consider themselves “nonreligious,” in much the same way that many Soldiers no longer identify with one ethnic group. It’s the same with race and ethnicity; many Soldiers select “other,” rather identifying themselves as part of one race or ethnicity. Ham explained that spiritual fitness applies to everyone whether he or she is “agnostic, atheist or ambivalent.”

Ham explained that spiritual well-being – to him -- tied closely to a person’s ethics and morality. Using a scene from the movie, “Saving Private Ryan,” Ham described the scene of the elderly Private Ryan in the cemetery asking his wife, “Tell me I’ve lived a good life. Tell me I’m a good man.”

Addressing the participants, Ham asked each of them, “Have you lived a good life? Are you a good person?”

Bailey plans to host the forums monthly, with the hopes that the senior leaders will then carry on the trend by hosting spiritual fitness discussions with their staffs and units.