From: armyweb | Sep 28, 2011 |
From carrying a 35-kilo Bergen in sweltering temperatures in Afghanistan to Baptising an infant in a UK village church, military Padre Stephen Hancock has done it all.
Then I found this great article in The Guardian:
UK chaplains in Afghanistan: ordinary priests with an extraordinary flock
With their camouflage Bibles and combat crosses, the forces' 278 chaplains are outsiders in the church and the military
The Rev James Francis was travelling in an armoured vehicle north of the Bowri desert in Afghanistan, accompanying the Brigade Reconnaissance Force during the stopping and searching of vehicles for insurgents, when a Royal Marine interrupted his chat with a gunner to ask if it was right to kill.
"That was a direct question," says the padre for 30 Commando, "but it's quite normal for these things to occur to people out here and it's vital that when difficult decisions are being made we have direct answers, that as Christians we don't retreat into some kind of holy huddle."
Francis is the archetypal Church of England priest – cheerful, polite, with James Herriot DVDs and a lavish tea collection – but his congregation is extraordinary: British forces who on Friday will have been engaged in operations in Afghanistan for 10 years in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Chaplains – there are 278 serving in the British military – have also been in the country for a decade to minister and give comfort when the war exacts terrible costs. There have been 382 UK military fatalities in Afghanistan since 2002 – 35 of them this year....
Go read the rest - and see the pictures - here.