Defence Force Sunday
7 November 2021
Letter From the Revd Grant Dibben
Anglican Bishop to The Australian Defence Force
Defence Force Sunday
7 November 2021
Letter from The Rt Revd Grant Dibden
Anglican Bishop to the Australian Defence Force
Our heart is to provide ministry in the Australian Defence Force, to be ambassadors for Christ, and to represent the Anglican Church in the complex secular context that is Defence. Your Anglican Chaplains are your in that context.
On 7 November we will commemorate Defence Sunday across Australia. Since the creation of our nation – your Anglican chaplains, alongside other denominational chaplains, have served on point – for the country – in war, national emergencies and peace. Through and through, be it toil or harmony, the ethos of your Anglican chaplains has remained constant – to care for service members, their families, and the communities where they live in what has, and continues to be, an ever complex and continuously changing world.
This year Defence Force members have been supporting Australia through Bush Fire Assist, COVID restrictions and on deployments around the globe. In our nation COVID-19, economic issues, isolation and extremism are testing the resilience of all, and your chaplains are living out the gospel, showing the love of Jesus which is impacting our whole nation.
A General once quipped ‘the soldier’s heart, the soldier’s spirit, the soldier’s soul are everything. However, unless the soldier’s soul sustains them, they cannot be relied on.’ Your Anglican chaplains are the ones at the sharp end caring for the soul of the ADF. By ensuring and delivering spiritual attention and moral leadership to our service members, their families and the communities where they live, they are contributing to, and are a vital component of, the ADF’s and our nation’s readiness.
Since Anglican chaplain Walter Ernest Dexter, the most highly decorated chaplain in the Australian Army during World War I, being awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross for his actions at Gallipoli and Pozières, your Anglican chaplains have proven themselves absolutely vital to building and sustaining the ADF’s preparedness. Our ability to bolster our ADF’s spiritual readiness, and to be beacons of comfort and hope contribute to the well-being of others.
I am confident that through the leadership of our Anglican chaplains, the continued focus of our ministry, sufficient resources and sustained prayer, we will achieve our vision in His name and continue to build spiritual readiness across the ADF for decades to come – be it on the bridge, in the foxhole or in the cockpit.
May Defence Sunday be a celebration of our Defence Force and in particular of our Anglican leadership in service to our nation, but more importantly to God our Father and the soul’s he has entrusted to us.
For the glory of God
The Rt Revd Grant Dibden
We are very grateful to God that our government pays the wages of our Defence Chaplains. What a tremendous blessing that is! Yet there are other costs and expenses for which we need a small amount of financial support that will better enable our Anglican Chaplains to minister to the Defence Force. As many of the denominational activities undertaken by me are not funded by the Commonwealth, your generous gift will both enhance and extend the Church’s mission and ministry to service personnel both overseas and at home.
I would invite you to make a small contribution to this vital work either by taking up a special offering for Defence Sunday and/or by going to our Defence Anglicans website and clicking on the donate button. Just $10 per person will make a significant difference.