Becoming a full time Commissioned RAF Chaplain
If you would like to apply to join the branch, read the information below, then write (stating whether you are interested in full time commissioned or part time auxiliary chaplaincy), enclosing your CV, to:
Rev (Wg Cdr) Ashley Mitchell
RAF High Wycombe
Tel: 01494 494469
You must have been born in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland or a country that was, at the time, a member of the Commonwealth. You must also have been a citizen of one of those countries since birth.
You should normally be aged between 26 and 49 when you begin RAF Initial Officer Training.
Candidates must be working clergymen or clergywomen, so minimum academic qualifications for working in civilian ministry apply. You must be ordained within an MOD eligible sending church and normally have at least two years' pastoral experience. As a Church of England or Roman Catholic candidate, you require the recommendation of your bishop. Church of Scotland and Free Church candidates require the recommendation of their respective Forces Board or Chaplaincy Committee.
Because you need RAF officer qualities alongside the skills you bring to the Service, time for specialist officer assessment and training is built into the recruitment process.
Once you express an interest, the RAF Chaplaincy Branch will arrange for you to visit an RAF Chaplain and discuss the unique and fascinating aspects of military chaplaincy.
Next, you'll be invited to attend a formal interview with the Chaplaincy Services' Staff Chaplain at RAF High Wycombe. This interview will explore your sense of Calling to military Chaplaincy with the Royal Air Force; your ministerial experience to date; your understanding of military Chaplaincy and your personal vision for ministry in the future.
The next step focuses on the RAF side: you'll have a three-day assessment at the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire. You must meet the challenging standards for candidates for all officer posts in tests of mental aptitude, health and practical leadership.
Initial Officer Training
Chaplaincy candidates follow a specially designed eleven-week course for professionally qualified entrants at the RAF College Cranwell. This eleven week course is a condensed version of the full Initial Officer Training Course (this link includes video from RAFC Cranwell) and is immediately followed by a two week basic air warfare course.
Reporting for duty
Initial Officer Training is followed by a short induction course, part of which is held at the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre at Amport House in Hampshire. This induction course explores the theology of military chaplaincy and considers its applications to the practical life of the Armed Forces.
Working within the system
The RAF includes many environments: airfield; training school; communications centre; the Mess; family housing; overseas operations. One thing is certain: there is always a place for someone who is called to represent Christ and provide opportunities for worship.
While the RAF is - like the rest of British society - a nominally Christian community, we encourage people from every faith to observe dietary laws, festivals and religious holidays whenever possible. Sometimes, in order to ensure that the spiritual needs of all are met, you'll need the support and advice of the representatives of non-Christian faiths who advise the Ministry of Defence.
All RAF personnel (and often their partners and families) know they can discuss work and daily life with you - and that can lead to something they really need to talk about. Your role as a trusted helper and communicator will often see you working in a team with other specialists in our welfare community.
When you start your first posting, your annual salary will be over £37,000. Up-to-date details about salary can be found at the RAF Careers website.
Your first tour of duty, which could be relatively short, will usually be on a large flying or training unit, within an interdenominational chaplaincy team led by an experienced RAF Chaplain. For later tours you may be working solo on a small or medium-sized RAF base. In the longer term, you may undertake a Senior Chaplain role.
There are extensive opportunities for additional training in the skills required of a military chaplain - most of these courses take place at Amport House