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Chaplains to His Majesty's Services

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Royal Navy

The Royal Navy employs chaplains of all denominations. The majority serve in a full-time capacity but there are a growing number of Reserve Chaplains who exercise a valuable and effective ministry as Royal Naval Chaplains in addition to their civilian ministry. Chaplains are employed in many parts of the world, ashore and afloat in capital ships, frigates and destroyers, Royal Marine Commando Units, hospitals, Royal Naval Air Stations, HM Naval Bases and Training Establishments. Apart from conducting the customary services in their ships, units or establishments, for which all the necessary facilities are provided, chaplains find numerous opportunities for extending the work of the Church through pastoral contacts with families and dependants, as well as being ‘friend and adviser of all on board’. In-Service training for all Royal Naval Chaplains is carried out at the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre, Amport House, Andover, Hants. SP11 8BG. Christian Leadership Courses for all service personnel are provided at the centre during the year. The Anglican Church in the Royal Navy is served by 45 priests and is very much a part of the Church of England with the Single Service and Tri-Service Synodical structures. The Senior Anglican Chaplain in the Royal Navy is granted the ecclesiastical dignity of Archdeacon by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop is the Ordinary for all service chaplains and grants ecclesiastical licences to all Anglican chaplains on the Active List. The Royal Navy is an Equal Opportunities employer and applications for entry from both male and female priests up to the age of 49 are always welcome. Full particulars concerning the entry of Anglican Chaplains can be obtained from NCS, Naval Chaplaincy HQ, Tanner Building, HMS Excellent, Whale Island, Portsmouth PO2 8ER. 

Tel: 0300 160 3626

email: lee.king211@mod.gov.uk

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Army chaplains serve wherever soldiers serve, including the front line in Afghanistan, providing spiritual, moral and pastoral support to soldiers and their families. Army chaplains are non-combatants and do not bear arms. They are ordained men and women recommended for this ministry by the Sending Churches: Church of England, Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic, Methodist and United Board (United Reformed Church and Baptist), Elim Pentecostal and Assemblies of God. They provide an ‘all-souls’ ministry to all in their care but ensure that soldiers have access to a chaplain of a particular denomination or faith group when required. Chaplains of all denominations are administered by the Chaplain-General. The Chaplain-General’s post may be filled by a chaplain from any of the Sending Churches. The Chaplain-General is Ven Clinton Langston: Ministry of Defence Chaplains (Army)

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Royal Air Force

From the foundation of the Royal Air Force, chaplains have been proud to minister to the needs of servicemen and women and their families, in peace and war. The Chaplains’ Branch of the Royal Air Force offers a real challenge and a rewarding ministry to young priests who have the necessary qualities, initiative and enthusiasm. The Royal Air Force is a large body of men and women drawn from every corner of Britain and from every stratum of society. There is a continuing need for clergy to minister to these men and women, through prayer, presence and proclamation, and the Royal Air Force understands and supports this ministry. Chaplains are commissioned by His Majesty the King to provide for the pastoral and spiritual needs of all Service personnel and their families. This care is unlimited, and extends wherever members of the Royal Air Force are called to serve. Clergy may apply for a position in either a full-time or reserve capacity. Further details concerning chaplaincy in the Royal Air Force can be obtained from: Chaplaincy Services (RAF), Valiant Block, RAF High Wycombe HP14 4UE

Telephone: 01494 494469

E-mail: AirChapServs-StaffChaplain@mod.uk

Web: www.raf.mod.uk/chaplains 

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Armed Forces Synod

President: The Archbishop of Canterbury

Senior Vice-President: Rt Revd Tim Thornton (The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Episcopal Representative to His Majesty’s Forces)

Lay Vice-President: Commander David Grindel

RN Secretary: Revd Edward Wynn, RAF Chaplaincy Service

On the direction of the Secretary of State for Defence and the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1980s, the Forces Synodical Council (now known as the Armed Forces Synod) was first convened in 1990 in London. It consists of thirty-six elected members (six clergy and six laity from each of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force) and up to ten ex officio members: the elected Service members of General Synod (currently one clergy and one laity from each Service), the three Service Archdeacons and the Bishop to HM Forces. However, the clergy members of General Synod are currently the three Service Archdeacons.  

The Council is chaired by the Bishop to HM Forces but has no fiscal or Armed Service command authority. It gives the Anglican clergy and laity of the whole Armed Services the opportunity to contribute to General Synod, to the Armed Services Chain of Command and to the Ministry of Defence. They can also make decisions pertinent to the life and ministry of the Anglican Church within the Armed Forces, and although members are not drawn exclusively from the Church of England, all ministers hold the Licence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.  

Until 2009, each Service was required to convene an Archdeaconry Synod and, below this level, Chaplaincy Councils. Under the new Representation Rules, however, this formal requirement has been dispensed with, although the Army still maintains this structure and the Royal Navy an Archdeacon’s Council.