Now a different kind of pilot

It’s been a different kind of journey in service. From 2005, Flight Lieutenant Stephen Gibbins served in the Royal Australian Air Force as a C-17A Globemaster III pilot. Now Stephen has taken the final step to become a Chaplain.

“Three words brought me to tears” Says Stephen. Those words were “Lest we forget.” They were part of a radio call when Stephen had the responsibility as a C17 Pilot of repatriating the bodies of two soldiers who had been killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

Since then, and with the sponsorship of the Air Force, Stephen has studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney and been attached to the Vine Anglican Church in Sydney’s inner city suburb of Surrey Hills. This programme was part of gaining the necessary education and experience to serve as a Chaplain in the Air Force.

On Sunday 28 November 2021, Stephen was ordained to the Anglican Church order of Presbyter (also known as Priest) by the Bishop of South Sydney, Michael Stead.

Principal Air Chaplain Kevin Russell, an Archdeacon in the Anglican Church of Australia presented Stephen to the Bishop. “It was an absolute privilege” said the Archdeacon, “I have been following Stephen’s journey since his first expression of interest in 2011. Stephen has a genuine interest in service and people, and feels that he can make a genuine contribution to the wellbeing of our aviators with their families. He is now a different kind of pilot, as he guides people through life’s challenges.”

Stephen says “I’m excited for the gospel opportunities that come from being ordained for ministry in the RAAF. My ordination today reminded me of the weighty responsibility of Christian leadership and also the joy of sharing my life and the gospel with the men and women of the defence force. I’m looking forward to putting my training and experiences to good use next year in my first posting as a chaplain at RAAF Base Williamtown.”

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