The eighteenth session of the General Synod expressed overwhelmingly support for the work of Chaplains in the Australian Defence Force.
The synod participants were engaged by a short video presentation which gave them an appreciation of the ministry of Chaplains. Bishop Grant Dibden reminded the synod that their ministry was centred in Christ, “… to minister, proclaim and witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ within the Defence community”.
It’s a tremendously valuable but difficult role as we balance standing up for the powerless, restoring the broken, sharing the good news in word and deed, supporting commanders yet giving tough ethical advice even when its unpopular.
To do this Chaplains need nurture, care, encouragement and support. They need to be anchored to a local church that understands the pressures and demands on them, and that supports and encourages them both spiritually and physically.
The General Synod:
- thanked God for the wonderful ministry of Anglican Defence Chaplains undertaken in the increasingly difficult climate of growing secularism and pluralism.
- thanked God for the privileged position and blessed opportunity to still have Christian chaplains living among and ministering to our Defence Force personnel.
- Encouraged each diocese to financially support Defence Chaplaincy by collecting a congregational donation each year, particularly on Defence Sunday (the Sunday before Remembrance Day).
- affirmed the importance of Anglican Defence Chaplaincy as a critical element of the Church’s ministry, noted the benefits to the Church of partnering with Defence Chaplaincy in gospel ministry, noted the strategic importance of having high calibre younger women and men serve as chaplains, and therefore encouraged each diocese to work with the Bishop to the Defence Force in recruiting them.