Taking inspiration from lessons learnt on deployment, the chapel at RAAF Base Glenbrook has been transformed from an old and relatively unused space into a warm and welcoming welfare retreat.
CAPTION: From left, Wing Commander Ivan Benitez-Aguirre, Group Captain John Carroll and Flight Lieutenant Laura Dahl at the entrance to the newly reopened RAAF Base Glenbrook chapel. Story by Flight Lieutenant Katrina Thomasson.
Supported by the Base Welfare Grant Scheme and a passion for improvement, the chapel has been transformed into a dual-function space. With new furniture, technology and Indigenous artwork, the building has retained its faith-based aspect, but is now a more inviting space where members of RAAF Base Glenbrook can relax, de-stress and hold meetings.
Headquarters Air Command member Flight Lieutenant Laura Dahl said the motivation to revamp the chapel came from her deployment on Operation Okra.
“On deployment, I saw the importance of having a dedicated welfare space where members could retreat to when they were stressed or needed quiet time,” Flight Lieutenant Dahl said.
“Having spent time in the chapel since 2021 for bible studies, I knew the building had the potential to be so much more. Before the renovation, it was dark, uninviting and largely unused.
“What I love about this new space is that it is so unique to the base. When I was thinking about how I wanted people to feel, I considered that the base’s current common rooms, open-plan kitchens and even the mess didn’t provide a private, secluded space for members to relax and enjoy. The chapel now offers this 24/7.”
An official re-opening was held on November 25. Officiated by Acting Deputy Air Commander Australia Air Commodore Nick Osborne, RAAF Base Glenbrook members were invited to experience the new space, with the chapel officially renamed the ‘Chapel of St John, Glenbrook Welfare and Wellbeing Hub’.
“Members can now use the chapel and listen to music, watch movies, receive counselling support, hold meetings or simply enjoy the clear views of Sydney,” Flight Lieutenant Dahl said.
“It is my personal hope that anyone who works at or visits RAAF Base Glenbrook will use the chapel in a way that nourishes and restores them emotionally, mentally and spiritually.”