URC army chaplains celebrated at service attended by the Queen

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army chaplains bannerThree United Reformed Church (URC) army chaplains attended a service in the presence of the Queen to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Army Chaplains’ Department’s royal prefix.

Held on 22 February at the Royal Military Chapel, Wellington Barracks, London, the service reflected on the sacrifice and service of chaplains who gave their lives during conflicts, and those that continue to support soldiers on operations today.

Army chaplains the Revd Jonathan Hyde of the Royal School of Military Engineering Regiment, Chatham, the Revd Kevin Jones of the 3 Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps, Abingdon, and the Revd Stuart Turner, Garrison Chaplain at the Defence School of Communications and Information Systems, Blandford, represented the URC.

“This was a once in a generation event to celebrate what is the longevity of the chaplains' department,’ said Mr Turner. “In the guards' chapel we had chaplains of all ages past and present. This was a significant day and I think it really encapsulates the ministry of army chaplaincy and the pastoral needs of today’s army.”

Queen in service APOLOND 2019 012 0084 Army Chaplains 100th Royal AnniversaryThe Royal Army Chaplains’ Department is unique as it’s the only part of the army solely dedicated to the moral component of the service.

On 22 February 1919, King George V bestowed the royal prefix on the then Army Chaplains’ Department in recognition of its outstanding service and sacrifice during the First World War.

During the service a Book of Remembrance and Roll of Honour, which spanned the beginning of the First World War to the present day, detailing the 315 army chaplains who died in service, was blessed.

Chaplains including Congregational clergyman the Revd Herbert Cecil Pugh whose act of faith during the Second World War – kneeling with soldiers in prayer as their torpedoed ship went down and refusing to leave them, which led him to becoming the only church minister to be awarded the George Cross – and the Revd Theodore Bayley Hardy VC DSO MC, who died of wounds in France on 18 October 1918, less than a month before the armistice, were also remembered.

At the end of the service, the Queen met serving chaplains, including those recently returned from operations in Estonia, Afghanistan and Sudan.

Queen greeting soldierChaplains are ordained professional clergy drawn from a range of churches who provide spiritual support to soldiers, their families of all faiths and none.

URC ministers who would like to enquire about this area of ministry should make an initial contact with the Revd Craig Bowman, URC Secretary for Ministries by email, or phone on 020 7916 2020.


Pictures featuring the Queen: Sgt Randall Crown Copyright MoD 2019

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