Sharing hope and peace with people, regardless of their faith and whatever their circumstance, is what keeps Pastor Tim Klein going in his role as a South Australia Police (SAPOL) chaplain. For more than 25 years Tim has served as a police chaplain in regions including Burra, Clare and the Riverland. Eight years ago he took up a position at the Police Call Centre in Adelaide, where the state’s emergency Triple Zero phone calls are answered, and he’s still there today.
The work of SAPOL chaplains encompasses many facets. Not only do they perform rites including marriages, baptisms and funerals for members of the police force and their families, but they also offer an accessible Christian perspective in the workplace and community – the presence of Christ in every SAPOL situation, from weekly worksite visits to regular events and even at major incidents.
Tim says it’s the rapport built that enables the best outcomes.
‘The most important role is one that builds relationships with SAPOL officers to the point that the chaplain becomes a trusted person in their life,’ says Tim. ‘From this perspective a chaplain is able to offer friendly and useful support to police, especially in times of crisis.’
As volunteers they may not be paid in a monetary sense, but the reward is clear, says Tim.
‘The only payment is the satisfaction of bringing support to busy police officers and care to those who are hurting.’
Tim is also on the SAPOL Police Chaplaincy Council, working with a police Chief Inspector and three other chaplains to provide interim oversite of the SAPOL chaplaincy program. The group oversees the recruitment and placement of chaplains and the coordination of annual conferences.
Tim says the most rewarding part of being a Police chaplain for him has been the ongoing friendships formed with the officers – relationships that have benefited all involved.
‘Chaplains make a difference. SAPOL chaplaincy has made a difference in my life as a pastor, keeping me real and gospel-focused as I relate with the men and women of SAPOL.’
This article first appeared in the September 2023 edition of the LCA SA-NT District magazine, ‘Together’. Photo: Pastor Tim chats to staff in the Police Call Centre.