Friday, December 4, 2009

Called to Serve

This Article was originally printed in the 'Anglican Life' earlier this year...

“I love my job.” While I was facing some of the greatest physical challenges of my life on Basic Training, those were the words uttered by the Chaplain School’s Commandant every time he was around us. At first I thought he was referring to his role at the school, but now I know exactly what he meant. I too “love my job.”

I have had a call to minister to the men and women of our Forces for many years, but shrugged it off as a pipe-dream. I mostly doubted my own ability to achieve the physical requirements. I denied a real calling.

Though I have often said that Padres Baxter Park and Jack Barrett were the ones who convinced me that I could (and should) answer this call, the real answer is CTV News Channel. Every day that I turned on the news to see another soldier killed or injured, another family devastated by their loved one’s call to duty, my heart convicted me more and more: go, serve.

And here I am, one of two Chaplains based at 12 Wing Shearwater, one of 17 Chaplains serving CFB Halifax, one of more than 300 Chaplains who answer the motto of our multi-faith branch – “Called to Serve.” I purposely listed myself as “one of…” in order to highlight one of the greatest joys of this calling: I am a part of a team that supports and stands by one another. I am never without resources. I am never alone.

Each day is a new adventure. Marriage counselling and preparation, spiritual direction, and advising the chain of command as to how we might best help our members and their families in their times of crises make up most of my day. Ceremonies - religious and military - punctuate the weeks and months as significant events are commemorated and celebrated. On top of all this, I have been able to take part in activities and exercises with the troops by land and sea. (I will have had my first flight in a Sea King by the time you read this.)

Do you feel called to support the men and women of our Canadian Forces?

Have you considered becoming a Regular Force or Reserve Chaplain yourself? Contact me - I may not have all the answers, but I can get them!

Have you considered offering support to “The Anglican Bishop Ordinary Trust” through the Anglican Foundation of Canada? This growing Trust fund ensures that we have a Bishop who can provide ongoing support for our more than 80 Anglican Chaplains and the nearly 20,000 Anglicans who form part of the CF family. For more information, please contact The Very Rev’d John Wright at

Have you made the conscious decision to offer up in prayer the women and men of our Canadian Forces and their families? If you or your parish would like a good resource, check out

A few months ago, I had the honoured duty to accompany a Commander Officer to the home of a young woman whose father (a member) had died. After absorbing her initial shock and feelings of grief, she turned to me and said, “It means so much to me that you came here in person to tell me. Thank-you. I freely offer that thanks to God and pass it along to you as you determine how you might best answer the call to support the men and women of our Canadian Forces.