The Defence Christian Network (DCN) has held a Service of Prayer and Remembrance at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham. The service is an annual ecumenical event where Christians from across defence come together to honour the fallen and pray for serving personnel and their families, of all faiths and denominations, in the UK and overseas.
The service took the theme of ‘United in Christ’ and offered an opportunity for defence Christians to come together, with support from the Band of the Household Cavalry, Gospel singer Lance Corporal Yvonne Asamoah-Tawiah, the Fijian Military Choir and the Defence Academy Military Wives Choir. Bear Grylls, in his capacity as Honorary Colonel of the Royal Marines, shared his experiences of the importance of faith to resilience and wellbeing.
The Rev Duncan Macpherson CF, Senior Chaplain of HQ Scotland, began the service and the Act of Remembrance was led by LH Roger Butcher RN and SAC Ethan Jean-Marie RAF. The DCN’s main aim is to develop a community of defence Christians who come from all denominations, ethnicities, cultures, genders and ages and is open to both military and civilians across all of the single Services. As part of that aspiration, once the service was complete there was an opportunity for the attendees to meet representatives from groups such as the Armed Forces Christian Union, the Catholic Military Association and the Fiji Support Network, along with other organisations who have not traditionally been part of the military, but are keen to develop links and truly celebrate the multicultural and diverse nature of defence.
Revd Macpherson explained the significance of the service, “Our service today is a truly ecumenical event so we involve all of the Christians across Defence which includes a huge variety of different denominations and faith traditions, to come together to celebrate our faith and bring our prayers for the work of Defence and in remembrance. Our network was set up to support Christians who may feel like they are quite isolated, depending on their service station, and as a way of encouraging and representing them. It’s also an opportunity to support each other and celebrate opportunities to worship together as a community. This is our first main event after Covid and Remembrance is vital to us; we stand in the tradition of those who have fallen in service of their country and those who came home from war need to be remembered as well, because their ongoing care is very important to us. Sadly in the world we live conflict continues today, so it’s essential that we remember everyone who serves.”