Col. John Fletcher, archdeacon of the Anglican Military Ordinariate of the Canadian Forces, has been appointed chaplain general and will assume command of the chaplain branch in Ottawa this fall.
Fletcher, who will be promoted to the rank of brigadier general, succeeds Brig. Gen. Karl McLean, another Anglican padre, who will retire in September.
Canadian National Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced Fletcher’s appointment, along with other Canadian Armed Forces senior promotions and appointments, on Feb. 6.
Fletcher has had wide experience as a military chaplain and has also served various national ministries of the Anglican Church of Canada.
In 1999 he was appointed canon pastor by the Bishop Ordinary to the Armed Forces, and tasked with providing pastoral care to Anglican chaplains. He has represented the ordinariate at General Synod, the church’s governing body, and has served as a member of the Council of General Synod. He also served on the communications, information and resources committee of General Synod and as a member of the board of directors of the Anglican Journal.
“For chaplains, establishing a ministry of presence is among the most important skills we learn,” Fletcher told e-Veritas, an online military publication, in an interview published in 2011. (Anglican Journal requested an interview with Fletcher and was informed that interviews are customarily not approved until after a new role has been assumed.)
Fletcher enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1980, graduated in 1984 with a bachelor of science degree from the Royal Military College and was commissioned as second lieutenant.
Discerning a call to ordained ministry, Fletcher became a student chaplain; he graduated in 1987 with a master of divinity degree from Trinity College, University of Toronto. He was ordained an Anglican deacon and later a priest in the diocese of Fredericton, in 1987 and 1988, respectively. He became assistant curate and then priest-in-charge in the Parish of Hammond River.
In 1989, Fletcher became a full-time Canadian Forces chaplain and was promoted to the rank of captain. Since then, he has served the First Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, the Canadian fleet in Halifax, the Land Force Central Area in Ontario, and the chaplain general’s staff. In September 2010, he assumed the role of director of strategic support.