Inaugural faith forum inspires

Defence chaplains from across the South Pacific gathered in Auckland for the first Pacific Defence Faith Forum from June 9-13 under the new Pacific Defence Faith Network.

CAPTIONDelegates from the Pacific Defence Faith Forum enjoyed a week exploring how military chaplains across the South Pacific could support each other and work together. Story by Chaplain Andrew Nixon, RAN. Photo supplied by NZDF PAO.

It was an opportunity for military chaplains from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga to connect and learn as they shared experiences in providing spiritual and pastoral support to Defence members.

During the workshop sessions, delegates focused on understanding regional military chaplaincy and further strengthening people-to-people connections.

Army’s Principal Chaplain Kerry Larwill described the week as an opportunity to explore how military chaplains could support each other and work together in friendship and faith.

“[It highlighted the] importance of listening to lived experience and the role faith has played in shaping how each of the nations represented support their military forces,” he said.

The forum started with a formal Powhiri – a traditional Maori welcome ceremony – at the New Zealand Navy Marae at HMNZS Philomel, and a multicultural service in an historic Maori church.

The service was led by Bishop Te Kitohi ‘Kito’ Pikaahu, the Anglican Bishop to the New Zealand Defence Force, with participation by members of local congregations who gathered from across Auckland.

Principal Chaplain Larwill thanked his New Zealand counterpart, Chaplain Pete Olds, and his team for hosting the inaugural event, and expressed hope that another forum could bed down an enduring regional faith network.

The establishment of a faith network was an outcome of the 2023 South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting – the premier ministerial dialogue for regional Defence ministers to discuss defence and security cooperation in the South Pacific.





1487 Total Views 6 Views Today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *