To most KMC residents, Daenner Kaserne is probably best known as a location of logistics and reserve units. In fact, the installation serves as home to a Defense Logistics Agency facility, the 405th Army Field Support Brigade, the U.S. Army Reserve’s 7th Mission Support Command and other reserve units. As reservists gather on Daenner Kaserne for training on weekends, the installation becomes a busy place, even on Sunday mornings.
But there’s more to Daenner Kaserne on Sunday mornings than many KMC residents may be aware of. The installation is also home to Daenner Chapel, one of several chapels throughout the KMC and a major hub of religious activity in the USAG Rheinland-Pfalz. Consecrated in May of 1952, the chapel looks back on more than 64 years of history, serving generations of service members, civilians and their families in and around Kaiserslautern.
As many USAREUR chapels built in the 1950s, Daenner Chapel has been designed to meet the needs of both Christian and Jewish congregations. A flexible altar region, Stations of the Cross that can be opened and closed, side chapels for special activities — including baptisms — and other details throughout the building serve as reminders of the chapel’s multidenominational character. After several renovations in recent years, Daenner Chapel today serves two major congregations, the USAG Rheinland-Pfalz Catholic Community and Chapel Next, a contemporary Protestant service. In addition, other religious organizations such the Protestant Women of the Chapel use Daenner Chapel for gatherings and special activities.
Despite its ability to accommodate congregations in excess of 200 people, Daenner Chapel — unlike other chapels in the KMC — is far away from major housing areas in the community, making it hard for congregations to “spread the word” that they exist and thrive in this somewhat remote location.
“It’s quite a ride from Ramstein or Landstuhl, so people really need to make a decision to come here on Sunday mornings,” said Chapel Next Senior Chaplain (Lt. Col.) R. Randall Thomas. “This is why we heavily rely on word of mouth in units, organizations and neighborhoods.”
“We clearly are in a remote location, but we hope that people joining us on Sunday mornings never regret the commute and let others know,” added Chaplain (Capt.) Phillip D. Redden of the 212st Combat Support Hospital
Most parishioners at Daenner Chapel come from 21st Theater Sustainment Command units on Panzer Kaserne, Kleber Kaserne and Daenner Kaserne as well as units and activities that have moved to nearby Sembach Kaserne since 2013. In addition, KMC Air Force members and sailors from Sembach’s U.S. Navy Warrior Transition Program join services at Daenner Chapel, turning the venerable building into a truly multi-service house of worship.
Chapel Next services on Sundays begin at 10 a.m., followed by Catholic mass at 12:30 p.m. Child care is available for both services.