It is said that there are no atheists in fox holes, but for many Navy members their spiritual side can be neglected in the pace of service life. That said for the National Day of Prayer for Defence, some Navy Chaplains joined forces to pray for Defence members and their families as a reminder to acknowledge the sacrifices service can require.
The role of the military Chaplain is often less about specific religions and more about pastoral care, but Chaplains Grant Ludlow and Stephen Hutchison at the Chapel of Saint Paul took the opportunity in 18 March to mark the occasion at Western Australia’s HMAS Stirling.
The day is aimed to be a spiritual event for Defence Christians and likeminded people, to come together to pray for those going on deployment, coming home, currently on deployment, and their families.
The opening address and prayer was provided by Chaplain Ludlow, who thanked the members for their support and commitment in giving their time to pray for the Australian Defence Force in a challenging time.
Chaplain Hutchison then led members in song before prayers were given, for Defence members, families, leaders and government.
“Pausing to reflect on the challenges and opportunities that service life provides is important,” Chaplain Hutchison said.
“Spirituality is a well on which military members can draw, in times of crisis.”
The soldier’s prayer was given by Chaplain Ludlow, the Navy prayer by Commander Gavin Reeves, and the Royal Australian Air Force prayer by Chaplain Hutchison.
After the service, members congregated for light refreshments before gathering again to reflect and pray.
“Themes covered included deployments, injured personnel, military ministries, Defence culture and training settings, the role of senior leadership and the role of Chaplains,” Chaplain Hutchison said.
Since 2011 the Military Christian Fellowship has sponsored a National Day of Prayer, which has been supported around Australia. Along with HMAS Stirling, some 27 other regional and international groups prayed for the Australian Defence Force in 2015.
The Military Christian Fellowship supports Christians who work in and around the Australian Defence Force, helping the vital ministry of Chaplains, and reaching out to those that want to know more about Christ and the meaning of Christianity.
Further information regarding the Military Christian Fellowship can be found at www.mcf-a.org.au