Getting Personal: Missionary provides spiritual fellowship for airmen
June 28, 2006
Tim Hawkins is a man on a mission. Literally.The 45-year-old West Row man has been living in Suffolk since 1999 serving as a missionary dedicated to the spiritual needs of airmen. Working for Cadence International, a Colorado-based mission organization focused on military worship, Hawkins and his wife serve airmen’s spiritual needs with a mix of contemporary worship and classic scripture. In a discussion at his West Row home, the Ensley Center, Mich., native talked about modern spirituality and a love of the road trip.
How did you get involved in missionary work?
We were working hard back in the States, doing all the things you normally do and we thought that rather than commit to a life of working and paying bills that we would invest our time and energy into something of a little deeper value, a lot of deeper value actually.
How did you arrive in England?
We were living in Pensacola, Fla., and had a lot of military experience there. Then we contacted Cadence International, which is a mission organization dedicated to serving the military that was founded by a survivor of the Bataan Death March. We applied, got accepted, raised the money and were assigned here.
Do you find there to be a difference between the religious communities here and in the States?
Less than 5 percent of the British people attend church regularly whereas in America you have much more church involvement and participation. Although this area, the area around Suffolk and the East of England, is considered the Bible Belt of England.
What do you do here to serve the airmen’s spiritual needs?
There are things going on almost every week. We conduct a singles ministry and we have a lot of mission trips. We took a group of girls to Salzburg recently and have a trip to Spain this summer.
You also work with the on-base chaplains.
Yes. I don’t think the chaplains get enough credit for as much work as they do. People think they just show up on Sunday, but it’s much more than that.
What is the key to providing a successful atmosphere for spiritual growth?
We try to create a very relaxed atmosphere that can impact people’s everyday decisions. People are away from their church, their family and their social networks. What we try to do here is create something more personal than a typical Sunday church service.