World Faith Chaplains visit RAF Halton

  |  Published: Dec 11th 2015
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The Chaplaincy team at RAF Halton, led by  Reverend (Wg Cdr) Geoff Withers, hosted four World Faith Chaplains this week who were here to engage with the wider faith communities in the Royal Air Force and attend the Graduation Parade of Beckett Intake at Recruit Training Squadron.

Mrs Mandeep Kaur, Rabbi Reuben Livingstone, Imam Ali Omar and Captain Jonny Smith, (representing the Salvation Army) met the Station Commander before visiting Initial Force Protection Training to view the training prior to having lunch with the recruits in the Henderson Mess.

After the Graduation Parade they had a meeting with the Chaplaincy staff and a presentation from Squadron Leader Julie Fell and Flight Lieutenant Andy Claesens, the Regional Recruitment Team, where they explored the possibility of each bringing young students from their own faith to Halton to meet and spend a day getting to know each other by way of motivational and team building exercises. Sqn Ldr Julie Fell also briefed them on them about the work they do with the many different ethnic groups to promote recruitment.

Padre Withers said: “The MOD is extremely fortunate to have the commitment, the expertise, the knowledge and the full-time service of a representative from each of five major world faith groups; a representative from the Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh faith communities. They provide both an educational role to the wider military community but also an extremely important role of exploration, nurture and faith development within the whole force. RAF Halton welcomed Mrs Mandeep Kaur (Sikh), Rabbi Reuben Livingstone (Jewish) and Imam Ali Omar (Islamic) as well as Captain Jonny Smith (Salvation Army) to the Graduation ceremony for Beckett Intake on Tuesday 8th December 2015. The visit provided the opportunity to engage with the Regional Outreach, Recruitment and Careers Team based at RAF Halton to begin to discuss an initiative to bring together young people from each of the different faith communities. The visit was a tremendous success and affirmed the RAF’s commitment and determination to be an equal opportunities employer and a champion for diversity and inclusion.”

Captain Smith said: “We came to find out what the RAF are doing to help the minority goups. The Station Commander wants to be inclusive and the intention is there to build this relationship. Everyone has been incredibly welcoming and we have seen a duty of care that has a family feel to it with people looking out for each other.”

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