The largest cohort of incoming tri-service chaplains recently completed the first New Entry Chaplains Transition course as part of the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre (AFCC) at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.
Designed to prepare new chaplains for the challenges faced whilst serving within the military community, at home or on deployment, the 29 new chaplains represented the Naval Chaplaincy Service, Royal Army Chaplaincy Department and Army Reserve, and the Royal Air Force Chaplains Branch.
The diverse curriculum of the New Entry Chaplains Transition course covers how to conduct church services ‘in the field’ to academic lessons covering military ethics and theology. Following the course, Army chaplains who have not completed Basic Training will go straight to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, while some of those who have already completed Basic Training will immediately deploy.
British military chaplains remain priests or ministers of their sending-churches but are prepared to deploy wherever they are needed in the world. There are also civilian chaplains to the military community representing the faiths of Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism, some of whom have a commission within the reserve or auxiliary forces.
Supporting the whole force, the AFCC embraces diversity in education, training, research, and engagement. It provides a forum to engage with national and international religious representatives, whilst offering tranquil settings in which all can reflect and experience a degree of respite.
Previously the RAF Chaplain’s School, in 1996 AFCC became a Tri-Service Chaplaincy Centre based at Amport House. In March 2020, the Armed Forces’ Chaplaincy Centre (AFCC) relocated to its new home in Beckett House at the Defence Academy.