Army engineer swaps frontline for diocese giving role

A former soldier has swapped frontline duty in places including Afghanistan and Bosnia for a role designed to encourage a culture of generous giving in the Diocese of Durham.

Rachael Phillips, 30, from Darlington, has become the Generous Giving Officer for the Diocese, having previously served with the Army for 13 years in both full and part-time roles.

Rachael was born in Darlington, attended Polam Hall School and Queen Elizabeth Six form College before switching her interests towards the Army.

She initially enlisted as a medic with the Green Howards in Middlesbrough and, whilst serving on her first operational tour as a project manager, employing local Afghans on infrastructure projects, she dealt with serious trauma injuries when she and her colleagues came under attack.

After serving with the Green Howards, she then commissioned as an officer with the Royal Engineers, becoming a Captain after training at Sandhurst.

As her career developed, she switched to the Defence Cultural Specialist Unit, specialising in developing community relations in villages in places including Bosnia and Afghanistan.

Rachael said: “My job was to work with villagers telling them why the Army was there and explaining what we were doing, which is similar to the work I will be doing with the diocese, explaining our work and how giving is part of Christian faith.

“My work is about building relationships and helping people’s understanding of their faith. Although I trained with the Royal Engineers, I have always felt more comfortable working with people than with equipment.

“My role with the Diocese will be raise people’s understanding of why we give and why it is a part of what we do as Christians.”

Rachael, who became a Christian in Afghanistan three years ago, and is exploring the possibility of ordination in the Church of England in the future, will perform the Generous Giving Officer role for two years.


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