Moderator army visit provides first-hand opportunity to understand chaplains’ role
Published on 18 February 2023 2 minutes read
Senior army officers emphasised the important role chaplains play in the modern military as they hosted a visit by the Moderator of the General Assembly.
Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields also had an opportunity to meet some of the Church of Scotland chaplains currently serving with the military and learn something of the history of the Royal Army Chaplains' Department with a tour of its new museum, which was officially opened last year by the Countess of Wessex.
He was accompanied by Rev Scott Brown, convener of the Church of Scotland's Committee on Chaplains to His Majesty's Forces and former senior chaplain to the Royal Navy; and Rev Lieutenant-Colonel Duncan Macpherson, the Church of Scotland's senior chaplain on a busy schedule which provided an insight into the role of a modern Army in an increasingly complex world.
This included a visit to the headquarters of NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) and a reunion with its commanding officer, Lieutenant-General Nick Bolton, who addressed last year's General Assembly in Edinburgh, where he spoke about the valuable contribution made by the Kirk's chaplains.
That message was reinforced by the Moderator's visit.
"Myself and Scott were hugely impressed to see first-hand the inestimable role of the chaplains as well as meeting some of our own Church of Scotland chaplains," Dr Greenshields said.
"Good time was spent throughout with Rev Duncan Macpherson and hearing his impressions of the important role of chaplains in a modern army. This was verified by all of the senior officers we spoke with. All of those that we visited appreciated the time taken and interest shown by the Church of Scotland."
Other items on the Moderator's itinerary including meeting servicemen and women who have received commendations, talking to officers in training who are exploring ethics in defence with the help of military chaplains, and learning about the work of the Defence Christian Network, the multi-denominational network for service personnel, from its chairman, Lieutenant-Colonel Simon Maggs.
Dr Greenshields added: "It was reassuring to see the safe, competent and intelligent hands in which our security lies."