Moderator sets sail with Royal Navy personnel and families

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Susan Brown, has spent five days with Royal Navy personnel and their families this week, accompanied by the Convener of the Chaplains to Her Majesty’s Forces Committee, Rev Dr Marjory MacLean.

Rt Rev Susan Brown during her visit to Glasgow and Strathclyde University Royal Navy Unit, sailing on the River Clyde
Rt Rev Susan Brown during her visit to Glasgow and Strathclyde University Royal Navy Unit (URNU), sailing on the River Clyde. Photo: Royal Navy

During their visit, Susan and Marjory visited Naval units such as MoD Caledonia in Rosyth, RM Condor in Arbroath and HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane.

The three-yearly visit by the Kirk’s Moderator gives the chance to meet some of the men and women who help protect the United Kingdom and to learn more about the Royal Navy’s presence across the region.

The Moderator with staff at Aggie's charity
The Moderator with staff at the Aggie's families centre in Helensburgh. Photo: Royal Navy

The visit is close to Susan’s heart, as she previously volunteered as a regular crew member for the East Sutherland Rescue Association (ESRA) in her hometown of Dornoch for ten years.

“The trip is a fantastic opportunity to see some of the work being done by the various arms of the Royal Navy, including HMS Prince of Wales, Royal Naval Reserve, Cadets, Glasgow and Strathclyde University Royal Navy Unit, Royal Marines, pool drill, Royal Marine Band and the charity Aggie's.

“It's also been a chance to connect with the Naval community and to see the rich seam of opportunity for so many skills and for chaplaincy.

“There’s been lots of chances to talk with all sorts of young people about life and faith. If only I was younger...!”

Colonel Tony De Reya, Commanding Officer of 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines; Rev Dr Marjory MacLean; Commodore Donald Doull, Naval Base Commander Clyde; Rev Mark Allsop, Padre to 43 Commando; Rt Rev Susan Brown; Rev Mark Dalton, HMS Neptune Chaplain; Venerable Martyn Gough QHC, Chaplain of the Fleet; Rev Prof Scott Shackleton, Deputy Chaplain of the Fleet; and Father Michael Maloney, Naval Base Roman Catholic Officiating Chaplain to the Military.
Left-Right: Colonel Tony De Reya, Commanding Officer of 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines; Rev Dr Marjory MacLean; Commodore Donald Doull, Naval Base Commander Clyde; Rev Mark Allsop, Padre to 43 Commando; Rt Rev Susan Brown; Rev Mark Dalton, HMS Neptune Chaplain; Venerable Martyn Gough QHC, Chaplain of the Fleet; Rev Prof Scott Shackleton, Deputy Chaplain of the Fleet; and Father Michael Maloney, Naval Base Roman Catholic Officiating Chaplain to the Military.

The Moderator’s group also includes Rev Prof Scott Shackleton, Deputy Chaplain of the Fleet, and Capt Chris Smith, Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland, both of the Royal Navy.

Of Susan’s visit, Rev Prof Scott Shackleton, Deputy Chaplain of the Fleet, said:

“It has been a great honour and privilege to host the Moderator on the three-yearly visit to the Naval Service.

“It has been made special this year for me to host the visit in Scotland since my promotion to Deputy Chaplain of the Fleet as I am myself a Church of Scotland minister.

“I am incredibly proud of the work of the Naval Service in Scotland and indeed the Kirk which the Moderator represents.

“It has been a special time to be able to reacquaint the Navy and Kirk to one another once more, but this time in Scotland.”

Rev Prof Scott Shackleton, Rt Rev Susan Brown and Rev Dr Marjory MacLean during the lifeboat drill at MOD Caledonia
Left to right: Rev Prof Scott Shackleton, Rt Rev Susan Brown and Rev Dr Marjory MacLean during the lifeboat drill at MOD Caledonia

Whilst at MoD Caledonia, members of the group completed a lifeboat drill where they learned some survival at sea techniques. She also met with members of the Royal Marine Band Scotland.

The Moderator also took time during her packed itinerary to celebrate Rev Mark Dalton, Naval Chaplain, being awarded a medal for exemplary Naval service.

Rt Rev Susan Brown sets sail on the River Clyde with Glasgow and Strathclyde University Royal Navy Unit
Rt Rev Susan Brown during her visit to Glasgow and Strathclyde University Royal Navy Unit (URNU), sailing on the River Clyde. Photo: Royal Navy

Capt Chris Smith, Naval Regional Commander for Scotland and Northern Ireland, said:

“It has been a real pleasure and privilege to host the Moderator this week and showcase the breadth of the Naval Service in Scotland.

“We are delighted that the Moderator has given us so much time and shown such interest in our people, their families and the operational activities that takes place in and around Scotland, as well as the wider global operations being conducted by Scottish based Units.”

The Moderator visiting HMS Grimsby based at HM Naval Base Clyde
Rev Prof Scott Shackleton, Rev Dr Marjory MacLean and Rt Rev Susan Brown visiting HMS Grimsby based at HM Naval Base Clyde. Photo: Royal Navy
Susan meets with partners of deployed Royal Marines from 45 Commando
Susan meets with partners of deployed Royal Marines from 45 Commando