Army chaplain appointed to Salisbury Cathedral’s College of Canons

An Army chaplain has been installed as one of the new canons at Salisbury Cathedral.

The Venerable Stephen Dunwoody was one of seven new canons who accepted the invitation from the Right Revd Stephen Lake, Bishop of Salisbury to join the Cathedral’s College of Canons recently.

Stephen, who commissioned into The Royal Army Chaplains’ Department (RAChD) in 2005, was delighted to receive his invitation saying:

“The diocese of Salisbury covers a large geographical area and within that area is a huge amount of Army activity, life and focus. I am particularly keen to represent the men and women of the Army and their families in this role. Bishop Stephen is very keen to understand and build bridges between the church community and service personnel.”

I am particularly keen to represent the men and women of the Army and their families in this role. The Venerable Stephen Dunwoody

Born in County Down, Northern Ireland, Padre Dunwoody was ordained as a priest in 1997 at the age of 24 after studying at Cardiff University. He then served as a parish priest for nine years: First in South Wales, then to Liverpool and finally to East Devon and the diocese of Exeter, where he looked after five parishes and two schools.

“The church was always a part of my upbringing” says Stephen. “My father is now 87 and he has been a priest for over 60 years.”

Stephen learnt about the military through friends who were serving, so was aware of this other community that was based on shared values and real cohesion. It was in 2004 that he decided to join the Army chaplaincy. He has deployed on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and held several Senior Chaplain positions. He is now the most senior Anglican Chaplain having been appointed as The Archdeacon for the Army in April 2022.

As an Army Chaplain, Padre Dunwoody cares for the Army’s people by delivering pastoral care, spiritual support and moral guidance for the whole force and their families irrespective of faith.

I, along with my colleagues are interested in people and supporting people. Therefore, anything we can do to encourage and care for others is seen as a great opportunity. The Venerable Stephen Dunwoody

“The Army has given me much opportunity” explains Stephen. “I have been able to travel, switch locations and work at different levels too. The great thing about this role is that we serve anywhere and everywhere.”

Now as Assistant Chaplain General, Army Recruitment and Initial Training Command and Land Warfare Centre, his role is focussed on assuring chaplaincy provision across all Army training establishments, directing recruitment activity for The Royal Army Chaplains’ Department, and assuring training for all Army Chaplains:

“I have the best job in the Army. I have the freedom to approach anyone at whatever rank or position they may hold. I, along with my colleagues are interested in people and supporting people. Therefore, anything we can do to encourage and care for others is seen as a great opportunity.

My focus is to continue to serve and support people.”

As a member of The College of Canons, Padre Dunwoody will assist the Governance of Salisbury Cathedral by providing feedback on policy decisions made by the Cathedral’s governing body and on Cathedral activities; keeping members informed of the work of the Cathedral and performing functions requested by the Bishop.

“This role is about connection, so anything I can do sitting in the College of Cannons to enhance and develop relationships is something I am very much looking forward to doing.”