The Revd David Haslam, a United Reformed Church (URC) Minister and Royal Air Force Chaplain, took his work on the road over the summer, pitching his “Spiritual Place” tent at various locations.
“My concept was to take the Gospel message into the midst of people’s working environments, and to offer Christian hospitality, challenge and presence through various activities and events. It’s like a church without walls, like the journeying people of God under Moses’ leadership. Have tent – will travel,” David said.
“Even during this Covid crisis, ‘The Spiritual Place’ was a visible sign that chaplaincy is present, despite social distancing. Many encounters and conversations have been had.”
David is pictured outside the entrance to RAF Boulmer’s underground bunker where the squad gathers air pictures from the UK’s remote radar heads and maintains and controls the UK air defence.
The tent was decorated that day to celebrate Pride, equality, diversity and inclusion.
“This is where the Church and Christian message needs to be,” David continued. “The inclusion-themed tent gave me an opportunity to right some wrong perceptions people had about church, and to stand alongside, with and for our LGBTQ+ community – after all, they belong and are us. We are all together, one body. In small ways, such as this, we, the Church, are beginning to learn how to communicate and have something to say of faith into today’s society that’s credible, relevant and godly.”
At the time of the publication of this article, Padre David (the title for chaplains in the armed forces) will be Chaplain to the British forces in the Falkland Islands. He will head home to RAF Boulmer for Christmas.
Published: 14 September 2020