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tour from duty Rare time
OFFCDT Jacqui Grady
WITH A smiling face and friendly
disposition, CHAP Murray Fraser
is one of three Air Force chaplains
who together form an integral part
of the RAAF Base Williamtown
Although he admits there is
no 'average day' in the life of an
Air Force chaplain, his days may
include offering both personal and
religious counsel to Defence mem-
bers and their families.
"We support members who are
going through tough times -- often
from relationship struggles at home
or work, to financial problems," he
"The most rewarding part of the
role is seeing the relief on people's
faces as they leave the office with a
sense of hope and knowing there is
someone there to listen. The motto
of our chaplains branch is 'Being
there', and that is what we aim to
do."CHAP Fraser is also responsible
for providing base religious servic-
es, including weddings, baptisms,
funerals, commemorative services
and the traditional grace during
Having been in Presbyterian
ministry for 20 years, he says the
Air Force is a welcome change.
"The parish was good to us, but it
was time for a change, a new chal-
lenge, and the Air Force has granted
me a new lease on life.
"I love working with the other
two chaplains (CHAPs Peter Friend
and Stephane Sarazin) -- there is a
real sense of camaraderie among us.
"I'm older than most around
here, but that just means I've made
more mistakes than the average per-
son on base."
He says members often come
to him for help in reducing stress
when their personal life begins to
impact on their professional life.
"For example, if someone's rela-
tionships are causing a great deal
of stress, they may not be sleeping
well, and this can affect their ability
to think clearly and work safely,"
"We talk about stress manage-
ment, and map out a plan of action.
In this sense, chaplains aim to
increase the operational effective-
ness of the Air Force. However,
often people are not looking for
us to provide solutions, but just to
He says while he doesn't pres-
sure people about questions of faith,
"knowing God can provide answers;
its great to have God with you in
life -- particularly service life".
CHAP Alan Williams
THIS year provides Austra
Easter Sunday will be
on April 24, while the fol-
lowing day is Anzac Day.
These days share several
with pre-dawn rituals,
but more significantly
being important to their
sense of identity for millions of people.
The celebration of Easter and the commemoration
of Anzac Day share several similar themes, includ-
ing that sense of identity (Christian on one hand;
Australian on the other), sacrifice for others, new hope
through death, and working for freedom.
Yet there are important differences.
The foundation for a Christian understanding of
Easter is faith in Jesus Christ. Easter Day, celebrating
the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is arguably the most
spiritual day of the year for Christians.
Anzac Day is a day of national identity and pride
for Australians; it is arguably the most spiritual day of
the year for the nation.
At Easter, we have the death of one for the sake of
all. Through Christ's death and resurrection comes life
and hope for all mankind.
Anzac Day founded what have become our national
values -- things like mateship, courage, never giving up,
supporting the underdog, overcoming adversity, facing
our fears. Professionalism, loyalty, integrity, innova-
tion and teamwork all find their origins in the events of
April 25, 1915.
At Gallipoli, young men risked their lives for one
another and their country. They died for others; those
they knew and those they did not. Anzac Day is a day
for remembering all those who have fought for the
freedoms we enjoy today.
Easter is also about freedom, but a somewhat differ-
ent understanding of freedom. The Easter story begins
with God's purpose for creation, which becomes cor-
rupted by human free-will.
While Easter and Anzac Day share similar themes,
they are different. One is Christian; the other is secular.
As a Christian, I look forward to Easter -- to shar-
ing the anguish of Good Friday and the celebration of
Christ's resurrection on Sunday.
As a chaplain, I look forward to Anzac Day -- to
remember those who have gone before, to being with
those who carry the Anzac heritage today, to providing
words of comfort and hope, and considering all that we
do in the uniform we wear.
It may be tempting to bring these two events togeth-
er in a single commemoration; however, they do not
belong together. Easter is Easter. Anzac Day is Anzac
Day. Let us commemorate both as we see fit; but do
not be confused about what we are doing or why.
CHAP Williams (pictured above) is from RAAF Base Wagga.
alians with a
April 14, 2011
CPL David Gibbs
Just 'being there' matters most
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