Association of Royal Navy Chaplains

Patron: The Chaplain of the Fleet

The Association aims to connect past and present Royal Naval chaplains and their families. We publish a quarterly magazine with a wide variety of news and historical articles; and, annually, a contact list. Close contacts are maintained with the NCS Headquarters, and as the Covid lockdowns fade into history the Association hopes to resume its programme of social and educational gatherings.

The Association forms an important part of the work of Front Line Naval Chaplains: our provisional aim being to become “The go-to place for Naval Chaplaincy history, culture and the development of best practice.”

The formation of Front Line Naval Chaplains arose from a series of conversations seeking to ensure the stories of those who served “Down South” in 1982 were not lost. It was with that limited aim in mind that an approach was made to Greenwich Hospital; the unique Crown Charity which works, alongside the RNRMC, to support various Naval good causes. The aim was to conduct an initial series of three interviews, supported by a portfolio of photographs and digitised copies of memorabilia such as deployment diaries, to demonstrate the value of such oral history in enabling the public in general, and today’s chaplains and other service personnel in particular, to learn from the hard won experience of those whose ministry was undertaken in the face of significant professional and spiritual challenge, and of course of real physical danger. Non-combatants we may be; but war comes wholesale to a warship: chaplains, chefs and writers share the same risks as weapon engineers and gunners.

Since that time the charity has run a social media based “Combat skills v. Covid Spills” project and incorporated the NCS chaplaincy history project.

The link with the Association of Royal Naval Chaplains was a natural development of the work of the charity, and has allowed us to continue and develop the Association’s “Chaplains Chatter” magazine into “Pennant”. We are keen to help clergy and others to build the Kingdom more effectively, so if you are able to write up a piece of practical theology arising from your work, please do send it in.

FLNC is clearly a ‘work in progress’: we have various work-strands in the hoist, but are conscious of the danger of over-commitment. Do look out for some other projects in due course: Posters (WWII chaplains who won awards for gallantry or distinguished service); a Painting (a signature painting to hang at Beckett House); a Funeral Resource sheet (to provide help and information for those planning a funeral for a Naval veteran); and the development of a series of Lectures and Seminars to share history and best practice widely in the Royal Navy and elsewhere, including with New Entry Chaplains and with other chaplaincies.

– Simon Springett, Chair of trustees