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Former pilot finds inspiration in the heavens and the pews of Barkingside

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 September 2017 | UPDATED: 07:48 12 September 2017

Holy Trinity Church, 14 Mossford Green, Barkingside IG6 2BX.
Photos of Helen Flack a former pilot training for the ministry.

Holy Trinity Church, 14 Mossford Green, Barkingside IG6 2BX. Photos of Helen Flack a former pilot training for the ministry.

Archant

A former pilot who once lost her faith but is now training to be a Deacon has thanked a congregation in Barkingside for supporting her on her studies.

Holy Trinity Church, 14 Mossford Green, Barkingside IG6 2BX.
Photos of the Church Open Work Day. Left to right: Church Wardens Laura Priestman and Paul McKenzie and Deputy Church Warden Maxine Paul with tea and refreshments. Holy Trinity Church, 14 Mossford Green, Barkingside IG6 2BX. Photos of the Church Open Work Day. Left to right: Church Wardens Laura Priestman and Paul McKenzie and Deputy Church Warden Maxine Paul with tea and refreshments.

Helen Flack, 53, who is just about to enter her second year at St Mellitus college has just finished her parish placement at Holy Trinity Church.

Whilst studying part-time, Helen lives in Great Dunmow and normally spends her time at St Mary’s Church, in the market town.

But after finishing her placement in Barkingside, the former captain said she had learnt a lot from her time away from home.

She said: “I’ve had a great time.

“My home parish is in a market town and is quite different, especially its style of worship.”

Helen, who previously worked at Stansted airport, flying the Airbus A320 for EasyJet, almost started her religious studies in her 20s.

After her love of music introuduced her to Christianity as a teenager, Helen said she was “entranced” by the Bible.

She said: “I first became a Christian when I was about 17-years-old.

“I had been singing in my school choir and we had performed Bach’s St Matthew Passion.

“It was so moving that I had to find out more about this person Jesus.”

When she was 25, Helen started to look more seriously about entering the church.

She said: “I put myself forward and I was selected.

“But very unfortunately, my mum died and it was a really tough time.

“A year later, my dad moved abroad and the Deaconess at my parish church, who was my mentor, moved away.

“I felt very abandoned. I couldn’t go forward with it.”

Whilst looking for a distraction, Helen booked to have a flying lesson at her local airfield.

She said: “I thought what is life all about.

“I have always loved flying and I had this very positive experience.”

But after training to be a pilot, and spending 23 years in the skies, Helen felt the call from God was too great.

Now she is on her way to being ordained.

She said: “God didn’t give up on me and here I am 30 years later, finally responding to his call, proving that it is never too late.”

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