By Elspeth Kernebone
6 January 2022
AN ANGLICAN army chaplain’s work has been honoured with a nationwide defence force chaplaincy award, recognising his work during the past year.
Reverend John Raike has received the 414 Award, which acknowledges the contribution of a chaplain to the core role, culture or capability of the army’s chaplains department.
Mr Raike said it was humbling to have his work as chaplain recognised, given the work he knew other chaplains were doing.
Also a parish priest at St Philip’s Collingwood, Mr Raike became an army chaplain after his ordination in 2016.
It followed nearly four decades in the army reserves, which he joined in 1980 aged 17.
Mr Raike said he had felt called to become an army chaplain, as it seemed a natural progression in his situation.
During his time in army reserves, he had witnessed chaplains who had inspired him to emulate their work.
Much of the past few years has been spent supporting army personnel stationed in Melbourne, often far away from homes in other states.
Mr Raike said many were unable to go home for several months, having to cope at a distance with serious illnesses, even deaths, in their families.
He said providing 24-seven pastoral support to members of the defence force was a key part of his role as chaplain, as well as offering spiritual care.
This could mean people came to the army chaplains with problems they didn’t want to talk about elsewhere, he said.
Mr Raike said chaplains built rapport with people by visiting their workplaces, and getting involved in their activities.
He said the army’s chaplaincy department was looking for more people to join, and that there were plenty of opportunities to serve.