This page helps describe the Command support provided to Australian Defence Force by Defence Anglican Chaplains.
Contribution to Defence Capability
Defence Chaplains support Commanders at all levels contributing to Defence capability.
They support the well-being of all personnel by:
- The provision of pastoral, spiritual and religious advice,
- The provision of pastoral care for Defence Force members and their families,
- The conduct of pastoral orientated training sessions and character formation activities,
- The conduct of religious services and support,
- Actively engaging with religious leaders and local communities for the support of the Defence Force’s people and mission.
Provision of Advice
Your Chaplain is a member of the Commander’s personnel support team.
Free from the responsibilities of command and privileged in insight into personnel attitudes, the chaplain stands in a unique position to exercise independent judgement and to give expression to that judgement as a staff adviser.
Chaplains can provide timely, accurate and relevant advice to Commanders and staff on matters relating to spiritual, religious and pastoral wellbeing, personal morality, ethics, character formation and morale.
Your Chaplain routinely exercises ministry by being present with members and by sharing in their Service life experiences. This ministry creates unique opportunities for Chaplains to provide pastoral care to your personnel.
The chaplain visits personnel in their work place, accompanies them on exercises and goes with them into operations.
The chaplain walks with and supports personnel through anxiety, fear, stress, moral dilemmas, guilt, fatigue, boredom and loneliness.
They accept human frailty in a helpful non-condemnatory manner, but at the same time uphold and strive to exemplify standards of conduct, which conform to the ethics of their faith.
The chaplain supports and encourages the wounded, injured and ill and, especially in combat, provides consolation for the dying.
Pastoral care also extends beyond Defence Force personnel to the family.
The chaplain’s ability to enter into the domestic life of personnel and the confidential position in which they are placed, enable them to be an important and vital member of the family support team.
As part of the family support structure, the chaplain has an important role in providing support for the bereaved and comfort to the distressed.
The conduct of pastoral orientated training sessions and character formation activities.
Your chaplain can conduct unit training session on pastoral issues including mental health and well-being issues as well as religious orientation sessions for an area of operations.
Your Chaplain also shares a responsibility for the development and delivery of character and pastoral education programs.
Character education programs aim to encourage spiritual formation of individuals in order to develop personal characteristics and interpersonal skills, which motivate responsible moral judgements and behaviour conducive to the common good of the Defence Force, its personnel and teams.
Religious Ministry and Support
Your Chaplain conducts church services, particularly in the deployed environment as well as the conduct of occasional pastoral services such as baptisms, marriages and funerals.
The provision of religious ministry and support by Defence Force Chaplains extends beyond Defence Force personnel to include the recognised spouses and children of Defence members.
This extension of duties particularly applies in military areas separated by distance from normal community facilities.
Religious Leader Engagement
Over 80% of the world is religious and for most religious countries there is no separation of religion and state. Indeed, it is not uncommon for political leaders and government officials to demonstrate (and sometimes exaggerate) the depth of their formal religious commitment.
Leaders both at the national and local level are respectful of religious leaders and Chaplains can gain access to indigenous leaders because of who they are. Religious engagement involves your chaplain meeting and entering into a dialogue with religious representatives.
The dialogue normally beginning with religious discussion, building mutual understanding and respect and contributing toward improved understanding, trust, coordination, problem solving, and localised violence reduction.
Peace support operations, with its emphasis on stability and reconstruction, and post-conflict environments, where brokered cease-fires led to mission mandates enforcing fledgling peace agreements between former belligerents, are the types of operations most suited to religious leader engagement.