Trust will aid forces’ chaplains

Published March 1, 2007

Peter Coffin, Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Forces, chats with peacekeeping troops stationed in Golan Heights. The primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, has established a trust to support military chaplains.

As part of a continuing effort to increase support for Anglican military chaplains, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison has established a $50,000 Military Chaplaincy Pastoral Trust with part of the proceeds from his two recent fundraising dinners.

The most recent dinner, held last October, focused on youth and the church’s work within the military. Before he was elected primate of the Anglican Church of Canada in 2004 Archbishop Hutchison served as Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Forces, responsible for pastoral oversight of Anglican military chaplains.

Archbishop Hutchison and the current Bishop Ordinary, Peter Coffin of the diocese of Ottawa, are discussing how the fund will be used. “It would be a discretionary fund of the ordinariate chapter,” a small group of senior military chaplains chaired by the bishop that meets two to three times per year, said Bishop Coffin. “Their next meeting is scheduled for May.”

The Bishop Ordinary position carries an honorarium, but traditionally a bishop has filled the position in addition to his or her diocesan duties. Archbishop Hutchison has said it is his hope that the fund could grow to provide a salary for the Bishop Ordinary, at least on a part-time basis.

Bishop Coffin intends to continue as Bishop Ordinary after he retires from the diocese of Ottawa on July 31. The Anglican church has the second-highest number of chaplains in the Canadian Forces, after the Roman Catholic church – about 75 in the regular forces and reserves.

“I’d like to build the fund to pay for a half-time Bishop Ordinary. Right now, I can afford to retire and do it,” he said, noting that income from the $50,000 trust would only amount to several thousand dollars per year. He also said that while he is in the position, he does not anticipate drawing a salary from the trust. The Bishop Ordinary’s expenses and travel are paid by the Canadian Forces, as are the salaries of the chaplains.

“It is my hope that the fund will grow,” Archbishop Hutchison said in an interview. At the dinner, he and Lt.-Col. (Canon) Baxter Park, an Anglican chaplain, emphasized the pressures faced by clergy in the field, both in areas of combat such as Afghanistan, in peacekeeping missions and at home.

Bishop Coffin noted that Anglican chaplains who serve the reserve forces are also affected by combat casualties far away, since they may have to notify and counsel family members in Canada.

The 2006 dinner netted about $52,000, said Archbishop Hutchison. Part of the proceeds, combined with some of the proceeds from the October, 2005 dinner, went toward the new trust.

Bishop Coffin also mentioned that he intends to work from a home office after retirement, but that he and Archbishop Hutchison are looking into the idea of space for the Bishop Ordinary at CFB Uplands, near Ottawa, where the Inter-Faith Committee on Canadian Military Chaplaincy has an office. The committee’s members include chaplains from various religions.


  • Solange DeSantis

    Solange De Santis was a reporter for the Anglican Journal from 2000 to 2008.

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