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“Military Chaplaincy in Contention – Chaplains, Churches and the Morality of Conflict” – ed. the Reverend Canon Dr Andrew Todd.

September 16, 2018

MCIC 2This is a collection of essays considering a wide range of issues such as terrorism, soldiers’ morale, and the use of prayers and services on operations.

Contributions have been made by those who have ministered to soldiers on the front line of battle in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade.

One chapter by a serving chaplain was written mostly while he was in Afghanistan.

He said, “The project which gave rise to the book was originally supported by the British Academy who funded workshops at which chaplains and others associated with the Centre came together to talk about the moral questions facing Forces’ chaplains today, and their moral role within the services.

“The book tackles a number of these issues. It is very contemporary and was written with current operations in Afghanistan in mind.”

The Chaplain General of the British Army, the Reverend Jonathan Woodhouse QHC, said the book was unique.

“There is nothing else like it on the market which looks at British Military chaplaincy in this way. The mix of high-octane up-to-date operational Army chaplaincy experience gained over the past ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan is one thing.

“When you combine that experience in the field with serious theological and ethical reflection from both British Army chaplains and the professional theological expertise of the Cardiff Centre for Chaplaincy Studies, this book becomes something quite special.

“Here is a visionary, challenging, contentious and serious examination of ethical theory and practical decision-making in the military realm.

“I hope this book plays a leading part in the development of military chaplains in their thinking and in the influence we can have in the realm of moral guidance, especially in the British military context.”

The research concludes that chaplaincy is a significant resource for the church. However, this report also argues that for the church to fully benefit from the resource, the relocating of chaplaincy in structures, understandings and practices of mission, ministry and education is essential. The full benefit of chaplaincy to the church includes significant insight into the world of employment (and Christian discipleship in that context) and a range of areas of public theology.

chaplaincy attracts not only interest, but also financial investment, from a range of secular organizations. This is indicated by the fact that the majority of employed haplains are paid by organizations other than the Church of England

The five case studies were:

Hospital – this large public sector chaplaincy was in an urban context over two

geographical settings.

Industry – this workplace chaplaincy was set in multiple geographical locations in an

urban context.

Commercial Sector – this urban chaplaincy included large companies.

Police – this public sector chaplaincy covered the police stations across a rural county.

University  – this suburban Cathedrals Group university chaplaincy was set on one

campus.

Prisons were not chosen as a context for a case-study, because of recent research into prison chaplaincy, which is complementary to this report

Chaplains employed by their host institution noted that there is a danger that they can become invisible to the Church of England because they are not on the payroll. On the other hand, when the Church of England pays the lead chaplain of a county police force, the director of an industry group or a commercial sector lead chaplain, they are strategically investing in the work of the paid chaplain for recruiting, co-ordinating and training teams of volunteer chaplains. Each of the three chaplains the researchers spoke to within this category expressed fear about their position, worrying that the funding may be cut (as it had in neighbouring dioceses) or that when they retire they will not be replaced. Thus, this very strategic role seemed vulnerable, as one of these chaplains explained, because if the Church of England doesn’t replace a parish priest the people will protest, but the role of the chaplain is so hidden that there may not be people to protest. Thus, it is easier to save money by cutting lead chaplaincy jobs. A Jewish rabbi working part-time in the commercial sector chaplaincy spoke about the importance of the role of the lead full-time Anglican chaplain who is funded by the Church of England. He said, “I mean my role is dependent upon having networks and contacts and knowing where to make those connections. And if you don’t have that, you are stuffed, you are nothing.”

It’s online here

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