THINGS OF INTEREST
Columbakids Garden Prepared For Winter
FOR THE PAST TWO SUNDAYS WE HAVE HAD A GUEST MINISTER, PADRE M RUNDLE, FROM CAF KINGSTON – HE WAS GOOD ENOUGH TO GIVE A HISTORY OF “CHAPLAINCY IN CANADIAN ARMED FORCES” as outlined:
HISTORY OF CANADIAN ARMED FORCES CHAPLAINCY
Chaplains have been an important part of the Canadian Forces (CF) since the Boer War (1899-1902). Before a permanent chaplaincy was established during World War II, the CF employed chaplains for specific conflicts to support the troops. During World War I, for instance, more than 400 Protestant and Roman Catholic chaplains enrolled in the military to provide spiritual support and comfort to those in uniform.
Today, chaplains continue to serve on military bases and on humanitarian operations, as well as NATO and United Nations peacekeeping missions.
The mission of the chaplaincy is to support and enhance the operational effectiveness of the Canadian Forces by contributing to the moral and spiritual well-being of the members of the CF and their families in all aspects of their lives, during conflict and peacetime.
The Chaplaincy Branch is made up of two services, Roman Catholic and Protestant, and is headed by a Chaplain General who reports to the Assistant Deputy Minister (Human Resources – Military). The Chaplain General is responsible for recruiting, training, and managing the chaplains who fulfil all assigned tasks. He is also responsible for branch and personnel policy, and for related ecclesiastical and corporate administration. Every two years, the position of Chaplain General alternates between a Roman Catholic and a Protestant chaplain to ensure ecclesiastical integrity.
A number of Christian denominations are currently represented in the chaplaincy, including Baptist, Anglican, Roman Catholic, United Church, Free Methodist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, and Presbyterian.
There are 144 chaplains currently serving in the Regular Force, and about 200 serving in the Reserve Force. Women are also members of the chaplaincy, working either as Protestant clergy or Catholic pastoral associates.
The chaplaincy provides a variety of services to members of the CF and their families as they strive to achieve their mission. Its main reason for being is to provide support to CF operations.
By ministering to the emotional, spiritual, and moral needs of the troops and their families, the chaplains enhance the CF’s operational effectiveness. They accomplish this by providing personnel with advice and support if they are under stress or going through times of crisis. They also counsel troops after deployments, and help them solve problems, all in the strictest confidence.
Chaplains tend to the spiritual needs of personnel by providing religious services such as Sunday worship and masses, marriages, funerals, and baptisms, as well as officiating at military ceremonies.
Over the years, the role of the military chaplain has evolved from working only during times of war, to providing an ongoing ministry of worship and pastoral care, both on the base and during operations. The ever-changing role of the Canadian military and its increasing support to UN peacekeeping and humanitarian missions has heightened pressures and demands on CF members, resulting in an increased requirement for moral and spiritual support from members of the chaplaincy.
Other changes have also occurred. The influence of organized religion within society is not as significant as in the past, which is reflected in the military culture. Consequently the traditional work the chaplains perform has been affected. The structure of the chaplaincy, however, allows for a flexible organization that will continue to effectively fulfil its mission while maintaining its ecclesiastical responsibilities.