A Place We Call Home
Our people at Wittering, Cottesmore and MDHU are at the forefront of what it means to be an Expeditionary Air Force; we know all too well the need for a stable and supportive station, a place we call home when on deployment.
Our families too need that support when we are away, a sense of belonging and being valued. Chaplaincy is not immune to this expeditionary lifestyle; I have recently returned from Op Herrick and Padre Bissell is currently on Op Ellamy. Chaplaincy has rightly prioritised its need to deploy, to be with the troops where they are serving. Consequently, Chaplains have refrained from running local civilian Churches through fear of letting people down when we are on operations. However, experience has also taught us that not ensuring there is adequate provision for worship, and the local community this builds, is detrimental to the well-being of an expeditionary force and its sense of home. With this in mind, in August the Padres began running Church Services and a Sunday School at All Saints, Wittering. It is envisaged this will continue until a new Vicar of Wittering is appointed in the future.
Of course the Church is not the only place in which community is built. The Hive and various clubs around our stations excel at building community. Away from the sensationalist headlines and comical banter, the local Church continues to provide a safe haven for self exploration and searching questions while building community, value and faith. Faith is not about leaving your brain at the door, but about letting our fears and frustrations go; faith is engaging our body, mind and soul in the building of community. In the case of All Saints Wittering, a community anchored in Jesus Christ.