HMAS Stirling recently hosted the Army’s Western Region Chaplains’ Seminar with 18 chaplains attending from all three services of the Australian Defence Force.
Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling, Captain Ainsley Morthorpe, opened the seminar by acknowledging the traditional custodians, the Whadjuk tribe of the Noongar nation, and provided a brief history of Garden Island.
“It is privilege to welcome you to this state-of-the art HMAS Stirling Wellbeing Precinct,” Captain Morthorpe said.
“I officially opened these facilities earlier this year and I am very proud that there is one central wellbeing precinct for all training and operations personnel posted to the West.”
There was also a guest visit from Lieutenant Wilking Jean, Chaplain of the United States Navy submarine tender the USS Emory S Land, and his team, who were alongside Fleet Base West for crew respite.
Captain Morthorpe welcomed the representatives from the United States Navy.
“Your attendance at the chaplains’ seminar reinforces the strong alliance between the United States and Australian Defence Forces,” he told them.
Captain Morthorpe lamented his diary commitments did not allow him to spend more time at the chaplains’ seminar.
He said he would have liked to have stayed for the presentation delivered by Royal Australian Air Force Chaplain Nikki Coleman, as she is a renowned ethics authority and lecturer in ethics at the Australian Defence Force Academy.
“I feel it’s very important to learn about ethics, values and wellbeing early in your career,” Captain Morthorpe said.
“Since the New Generation Navy signature behaviours program launched more than 12 years ago, I think about these things every day,” he said.
Captain Morthorpe concluded his address with his favourite quote, “You can’t be good leaders if you don’t know how to be good followers”.
Before departing the Wellbeing Precinct, Captain Morthorpe joined the chaplains in the chapel for the opening devotion by Army Chaplain Kim Kuchel from 13 Brigade.
The chaplains’ seminar was conducted across three days with a strong theme on ethics and how chaplains can support recruiting in their local areas.