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‘Defence Sunday’ is observed annually on the Sunday prior to Remembrance Day (11 November). Marking this day provides an opportunity for the church to  consider and pray for the spiritual needs of those who currently serve in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), and those who minister to them. It is also an opportunity for parishes to make connections with the local ADF community and look for avenues of shared ministry between parishes and chaplains.

For the parish of Charnwood and Hall, that shared ministry involves literally sharing their Priest-in-Charge with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). For a parish with a vision of ‘Walking together with Jesus to take his life into the world’, prayerful and practical support of ADF chaplaincy through their own minister enables a small parish to walk far beyond the parish boundary.

As a part-time Priest-in-Charge, the flexibility to spend a few days each week in a workplace chaplaincy allows me to ‘walk the talk’ of a pastor who encourages all members of the church to go into the world as ambassadors for Christ.

Coming from a small (but energetic!) parish, time in chaplaincy also provides the opportunity to broaden ministry experiences, particularly to younger adults. Inclusion in a larger, experienced, and ecumenical ministry team also provides personal and spiritual support which in turn enhances my capacity to serve the parish. I keep reminding myself that the requirement to be physically fit is good for me too.

This ministry also brings the world to the parish. We were blessed on 10 November to welcome Navy Chaplain Russell Smith, who shared from his chaplaincy experience on the high seas and preached on John 15 ‘remaining in the Father’s love’.

by Reverend Emma Street