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Saturday, May 18, 2024

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Chapel Brings Hope to Veterans, Community

Members believe that the Living Waters Veteran's Chapel

By Rachel Rogish

WILDWOOD ─ “It’s an honor to be part of this,” said Reverend Deb Moore Jan. 24, as she gave the Herald a tour of the Living Waters Veteran’s Chapel, at Burk and Pacific avenues, in Wildwood. Moore explained the importance of community and finding hope in unexpected places.
Built in 1965, the former Presbyterian church opened its doors as a non-denominational gathering place in January. According to Moore, she is “amazed at who God has brought” in the first few weeks. The Lazarus House also shares the space, providing a food pantry for those in need.
“By faith, we will seek to offer, establish and improve personal relationships with Jesus Christ,” reads the Living Water’s mission statement. “We will be mobilized to serve our families and community with love and be activated as world influencers through prayer and deeds.
“We will serve the Lord with vigor and give thanks for our freedoms, encouraging pride and patriotism in America, while supporting veterans of the United States military and their families.”
Getting the chapel ready has proved no small task, according to Moore.
“Veterans helped clean, paint and prepare Living Waters for service,” Moore said. “They have taken ownership and pride in having what we believe to be the only Veterans Memorial Chapel in the State of New Jersey. Some are regular church attendees, and others have not been in church in a long time.”
Providing opportunities to help may sound commonplace, but for many veterans, it is a lifeline.
A background as an entrepreneur may seem to juxtapose ministry life, but Moore’s mission springs from years of working with people in the business world. Moore, originally from Burks County, Pa., was ordained an “Apostolic Itinerant Minister” in 2008.
Moore, and her husband, have called the Wildwoods home since 1984.
She believes the parallel between the 1960s and today stands stark against the national scene. With the next generation questioning societal norms and political unrest, the turmoil is felt locally as well, especially as veterans seek healing.
Revival is key, Moore said. She’s glad to see a wide cross-section of ages attending services. Numbers range from a dozen to nearly 30 on any given Sunday, a rarity in winter, according to Moore.
“This was something divine,” Moore said.
As word spreads, Moore hopes to find support for veterans across the Wildwoods and for the pews to fill, not for the sake of numbers, but those seeking hope.
Nine flags, representing the nation, branches of military service and the Christian faith, line the stage. According to Moore, the flags are gifts from the Elks organization.
“We are all family,” Moore said, grateful for the work of the Lazarus House, led by Frank Stone.
“It’s a beautiful marriage,” Moore said, referring to the partnership between both organizations. Even when supplies run low, the need is met, as neighbors, the Coast Guard, and other organizations donate canned goods.
U.S. Census Bureau data, from 2014 to 2018, shows there were 6,783 veterans in the county (http://bit.ly/2OqoDWy).
John Grant, a Vietnam War veteran, died Jan. 13 at the Lions Center. He had no family to care or prepare his funeral, according to Moore. Grant was a decorated expert rifleman, and a service was held in his honor at Living Waters Jan. 29. A burial service followed at the county’s veterans cemetery.
“It’s a beautiful thing to see the connections God is making with those He is sending to the service,” Moore said, pleased with the diversity of veterans, residents and visitors who attend services at Living Waters.
“We are so happy to be offering this unique opportunity in Cape May County, and hope more will participate,” she concluded.
To contact Rachel Rogish, email rrogish@cmcherald.com.

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