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National Inclusion Week 2018 – DE&S Christian Network

Simon tells us how the brand new DE&S Christian Network has actually been around for 21 years – and how the network encourages DE&S employees to ‘bring their whole selves to work’.

In recent weeks, a new Network has launched at MOD Abbey Wood – the Christian Network.  Having existed informally for many years, we’re excited to be taking our place alongside our fellow Networks.  According to our most senior member (due to retire next month after 37 years in the MOD) there’s been a Christian group at Abbey Wood since 1997 – a year after the site was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996. This means that the Christian Network is therefore either 2 months or 21 years old, depending on how you view it.

From the DE&S Christian Network

Lynn

A vital time to step out of busy work routines, pause and make sense of life.

The Christian Network is a diverse group of DE&S staff drawn from a broad range of Christian backgrounds and in common with all the D&I Networks, anyone is welcome to join.  Within our membership (currently 160 and growing steadily), we have a higher percentage of women than the DE&S baseline figures and around four times the average proportion of BAME staff; which is simply a natural reflection of the global nature of the Christian faith.  In common with all the Networks, we’re keen to play our part in supporting our employees and contributing to outreach and engagement on behalf of DE&S.

In collaboration with the Chaplaincy team, the Christian Network run 3-4 weekly meetings across the North and South sites. There’s a lunchtime prayer meeting and service of Holy Communion, plus an early morning Bible Study for early risers – with essential strong coffee and pastries. Last term our lunchtime talk on the subject of ‘fAiTHEISM’ received positive feedback and we’re looking forward to hearing Rev John Swanston (Padre to 1st Battalion The Rifles) speak on the subject ‘My Journey: from Warrant Officer to Army Padre’.

From the DE&S Christian Network

Simon

A valuable community to strengthen each other through prayer and reflection.

The strapline of the Christian Network is ‘Journeying Together’, which reflects the fact that faith is a journey and none of us have arrived yet. It’s good to admit that we don’t have all the answers and to recognise that we can learn so much from the experience of others.

As Christians, one of the highlights of our year is to host community events at Easter and Christmas.  At our Easter lunchtime talk, a former lawyer invited guests to re-examine for themselves the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our 2017 Christmas Carol Service (which featured port & mince pies, the Bristol Military Wives’ Choir, a Salvation Army brass band – and the Padre wielding a light sabre!) was attended by over 400 guests. 

Faith isn’t something that we can easily leave at the door when we go to work; our beliefs influence all our daily thoughts and decisions.   We believe that when appropriately expressed, faith is good for the workplace.  As part of an inclusive DE&S, we’d like Christians, together with those from all faith and belief groups, to feel that their beliefs are valued and be able to ‘bring their whole selves to work’.

From the DE&S Christian Network

Susanna

A place where I’m accepted and an occasional refuge from the stress of work.

The Christian Network has also partnered with Muslim colleagues and the Multi-Cultural Community (MCC) Network to develop an inter-faith forum called ‘Friends of Faith’.  This initiative is designed to build friendships and promote mutual understanding between different faith/ belief groups, but is equally suitable for those who are simply exploring these ideas.  ‘Friends of Faith’ is supported by the DE&S Diversity & Inclusion Team and the Chaplaincy Team, whose role is to provide pastoral support to staff of all faiths and none.

From the DE&S Christian Network

Fred

A chance to meet with God’s people of different backgrounds and experiences.

Having officially become part of the D&I Framework, the Christian Network will continue to consider how best it can continue to serve the community at MOD Abbey Wood and beyond.  In addition to its current programme (and working in tandem with ‘Friends of Faith’), this might include opportunities for staff to develop spiritual resilience and religious literacy, the value of which is gaining wider recognition in Defence.  It will also increasingly seek to collaborate with the other Networks, in order to contribute to outreach and societal engagement.

Key to this is our members, who are ideally placed to engage with local churches and play a part in encouraging their Christian communities to consider a career within Defence.

National Inclusion Week 2018
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By |2019-08-21T09:13:14+00:00September 26th, 2018|
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