Pastoral Services for Members of the Military

We explore the duties and challenges of military chaplains from two nations: Britain and Canada. Ian Wheatley, recorded at the Defence Ministry in Westminster, London, serves as Chaplain of the Fleet of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. Sailors bring to chaplains concerns regarding family back home, as well as moral questions about warfare. We hear how seamen and women have wrestled with humanitarian problems like the recent Middle Eastern migrant crisis that spilled into Europe, sometimes with tragic results. In such circumstances, understandable questions about truth and God often arise.

Next, we visit with Padre Guy Chapdelaine, a soft-spoken Canadian who currently serves as Chaplain General of the Canadian Armed Forces, directing about 400 chaplains from diverse denominations. He sees his calling primarily as a “ministry of presence”: to be there, to be open, to hear what people have to share. And with increasing diversity in society, connecting with people of different religions is an essential skill needed to promote harmony. If people are grounded in their own beliefs, it becomes easier, he says, to enter into a healthy relationship with others.