Chaplaincy - Air Training Corps

Rev Jane Winter, Facilitator for Formation, Learning and Discipleship at the Diocese of Rochester

How and why did you get involved in chaplaincy?
173 Squadron meet in our parish and while I was aware they were there tucked down a side road, I didn’t really know about them. An email arrived from the local Churches Together network asking if any of us would be willing to take over the role of chaplain. We have very few children and no young people at St Andrew Orpington, and here was a group of young people two streets from the church wanting and needing a chaplain – why not get involved?

What’s your role in your particular workplace environment?
The RAF take chaplaincy very seriously. Chaplaincy is a ministry of intentional Chaplains are expected to attend squadron meetings and run Padre’s hour at least once a month. We discuss all sorts of things in Padre’s hour ranging from matters of faith to moral issues, living up to the values of the RAF and what it means to be a good citizen. The hour flies past in lively and controversial debate.  

What do you like/enjoy about it?
I love being with the cadets, they are a great group of young people from all sorts of backgrounds and with a range of experiences. I love the fact that they ask anything and take me out of my comfort zone.

How would you encourage others who might be interested in getting involved in chaplaincy?
‘Just do it’ is a bit of a cliché but actually if you have a feeling this might be for you then certainly explore it. Air Cadets actively seek out chaplains but the other armed forces cadets groups have chaplains too. There is bound to be one  near you. Instead of worrying that there are no young people in church, be where young people are and help make faith relevant for them there. It’s a gift of front line mission.


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