Over 100 British Army chaplains recently gathered at the National Memorial Arboretum for a unique event, which included the commissioning of five new military chaplains.
Organised by the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department (RAChD), the thanksgiving and commemoration service was the first time an event of this type was held.
The day was an opportunity for the Army chaplains to look back, with wreaths laid to honour members of the RAChD no longer with us, as well as a chance to look forward with the five new chaplains welcomed as they start their military ministry.
The chaplains also took time to thank families and friends who support their ministry.
The Royal Welsh Band provided musical accompaniment to the church and remembrance services.
It is particularly pleasing that we take this opportunity to commission five new chaplains who will in their ministry take this exciting, challenging and rewarding legacy forward. The Venerable Clinton Langston CB QHC CF, The Chaplain General
The Venerable Clinton Langston CB QHC CF, The Chaplain General, said, “It was wonderful to gather at the National Memorial Arboretum, with the whole Army Chaplaincy family, from members of the Association to Cadet Force, Reserve, Regular chaplains and their families.
“We remember the history of the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department, those who gave their lives in the service of God, the Army and their soldiers.
“That dedication and commitment continue to the present day. It is particularly pleasing that we take this opportunity to commission five new chaplains who will in their ministry take this exciting, challenging and rewarding legacy forward.”
Army chaplains are an integral part of Army families’ and soldiers’ well-being. They come from a variety of backgrounds, but all of them are called to live and work alongside soldiers - irrespective of religion or belief - and go wherever soldiers go.
Although there is no such thing as a typical day for an Army chaplain, they play an important pastoral role, particularly for soldiers returning from operations, as well as providing support to spouses, family members and veterans.
It is a huge privilege to be an Army chaplain, serving soldiers both at home and on deployments. Padre Pat Aldred, senior chaplain, Army regional command
Chaplains have served in every theatre of conflict ever since the Army Chaplains’ Department was formed in 1796, providing spiritual support, pastoral care and moral guidance to soldiers.
In recognition of their devoted service during the First World War, King George V conferred the prefix 'Royal' on the Army Chaplains' Department.
Army chaplains were recently deployed to Kabul in Afghanistan as part of Operation Pitting.
Times may change but the call, care, compassion and role of prayer remains constant.
Padre Pat Aldred, senior chaplain, Army regional command, said, “It is a huge privilege to be an Army chaplain, serving soldiers both at home and on deployments. Chaplaincy is a fantastic opportunity to work with some of our very best people in, quite often, challenging circumstances.
“I would recommend Army chaplaincy to anyone who has a vocation to serve God and who is looking for adventure in their ministry.”