Church Congregation, Soldiers Have Unique Exchange

Soldiers in the Third ID stationed in Iraq are getting a visit from an angel, sort of. The congregation from the church attended by a local soldier have become angels to the men and women through a special program. The soldiers and church have started a unique exchange.

Coastal Cathedral is filled with beautiful banners, one for each event, thanks to a banner ministry.

"They spend many hours putting them together they hand sew those and they get the ideas from their own mind," said media pastor Troy Roland.

So when a member of the congregation who happens to be a chaplain for the Third ID left for Iraq, they decided to make him and the rest of the soldiers at home while in the field.

"They donated some just amazing worship banners that made this rundown mail facility look more like a chapel," said Spc. Bert Copple.

The soldiers were so appreciative they wanted to give something back, but didn't have all the fancy fabric to make banners. So they improvised, using paper, pictures, and most importantly the signatures of soldiers. They sent a banner that is now one of the most special in the church.

"It took many Sundays of having to hang it in the sanctuary, where the congregation can come by and read each and every note," said Spc. Copple. "It was wonderful."

Spc. Copple only had two weeks R and R before he leaves again tomorrow, so he used the time to show the congregation pictures of the banners hanging up in Iraq. "They think it's a blessing for them, but we really have the great opportunity to think that's there for them to be able to worship with."

It's an exchange of faith and support both the church and soldiers hope to continue throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom.

That's not the only project the church is helping Spc. Copple with. He also started Operation Desert Angel, where the church donates birthday presents to soldiers. If you are interested in being a desert angel, click here for information.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro,