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Congratulations are in order for Reverend Gayl Mills, who was awarded the Order of Australia as part of this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List – for her service to Police Chaplaincy and to the Anglican Church of Australia.

It all began while serving as the Director of Pastoral Care at Christ Church Anglican Church in Queanbeyan in 2004, when she was recommended by the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn as a chaplain for the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Reverend Mills joined the AFP in March 2005 and is currently the AFP’s longest serving Chaplain. She has spent much of this time at ACT Policing, responding to critical incidents attended by community police, providing follow-up debriefs and counselling members.

Image provided by the Australian Federal Police. Used with permission.

Image provided by the Australian Federal Police. Used with permission.

Throughout her ministry with the AFP, Reverend Mills has demonstrated the upmost empathy, knowledge and compassion while providing spiritual guidance and pastoral care to all members within the AFP and their families.

She describes her role as looking after the ‘pastoral care and spiritual welfare of members – the Ministry of Presence’.

‘Chaplaincy is the active role  of a “ministry of presence” in a community – to meet people, to compassionately walk with them, to listen, to encourage them in their life journey and spiritual experiences’, she said.

Reverend Mills has championed AFP member welfare and wellbeing to ensure its workforce remains healthy, resilient and ready to meet the unique and evolving challenges policing agencies face each day.

This is highlighted through her contribution during Operation Cawdor, providing counsel to those members returning from Thailand following the AFP’s response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami, which killed approximately 230,000 people, including 26 Australians.

Even outside the AFP, Reverend Mills is always there to offer her support. She has been an active participant in summits hosted by Wellbeing Australia, and a panellist on sessions exploring spirituality and faith in managing wellbeing, as well as connection to purpose, values and work.

Reverend Mills’ presence, support and resolve during times of loss, grief and remembrance has provided unwavering support well beyond the expectations of her role.

She has been at the forefront of  National Police Remembrance Day services, police funerals and police graduations, ensuring the dignity and sanctity of the occasions are upheld to the highest order.

The AFP Chaplaincy Network aims to provide a continually developing interdenominational and interfaith approach to spiritual welfare and pastoral care for employees, former members, and their immediate families.

Story and images provided by the Australian Federal Police. Used with permission.

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