NEWS

SEPTEMBER 6TH 2017

Meet Lincolnshire ACF’s new chaplain

Padre Gareth Atha1

Padre Gareth Atha

A new face appeared at Lincolnshire Army Cadet Force’s (ACF) Annual Camp, and it looks like cadets will see plenty more of Reverend Gareth Atha.

Gareth is the new Padre in the county, brought in to work alongside Padre Peter Hopkins.

Visiting the Annual Camp at Wathgill in August provided him with a first chance to meet the cadets among helping out where possible and even taking part in a few activities such as the obstacle course himself.

Gareth also sat down with Lincolnshire ACF’s media team for a chat.

Of Annual Camp he said: “It was great to meet so many people from Lincolnshire ACF and to see some of the things the cadets have been getting up to at Wathgill.

“I’ve been a Minister in the Church of England for four years. My ‘day job’ is as a Priest at Beverley Minster, a very large parish church near Hull which also looks after four other (much smaller) churches. I’m married to Rachael, who is a teacher, and we live with Nutmeg, our very naughty Dachshund.”

Mucking in

Mucking in

So what brought Gareth to the priesthood and then the ACF?

“Well, the short answer to that is that God asked me to do it. The longer answer is that as I went to church week by week I felt drawn towards the ministry.

“I saw the ministers at the front of church and learnt about what they did in their jobs and felt that it was something I should be doing as well.

“You could say that I wanted my faith to inform and influence everything that I do, and there’s no better way to do that than becoming a Minister.

“In my first year as a Priest at Beverley I was invited to visit the Defence School of Transport in  Leconfield, which is only two miles from my home. This is where the Army, Air Force and Navy send their servicemen and women to learn to drive.

“While there, I was introduced to the ACF by a local Minister who is also an ACF Padre, and after thinking and praying about it for a long time, I decided that this was something I would like to pursue.

“I applied to the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department to become an ACF chaplain; they assigned me to Lincolnshire ACF and here I am.

“Thank you all for making me feel so welcome, and I look forward to seeing you again at future camps and at your detachments.”

“Thank you all for making me feel so welcome, and I look forward to seeing you again at future camps and at your detachments.”