Navy News Stories
03 March 2003
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A new head of the Naval Chaplaincy Service has been appointed and in his first message to the Fleet he has been looking at some of the radical changes which the Service will face in the new Millennium.

The Ven Simon Golding, who became Chaplain of the Fleet and Director General of the Naval Chaplaincy Service on June 1, expects to see more chaplains on the front line and the appointment of the first non-Christian Armed Forces Chaplains.

He said: "I feel immensely privileged to have been selected to lead a team of men and women for whom I have the utmost respect. I eagerly look forward to leading the Naval Chaplaincy Service (NCS) in these early years of the new Millennium. NCS has entered the new Millennium in good heart and by the end of the year we will have our full complement of 75 Chaplains on the trained strength. The future deployment of chaplains has been agreed, with even greater emphasis on the front-line. By this time next year we plan to have five extra chaplains at sea to meet our commitment to have a chaplain in all destroyers and frigates (and all larger ships) deployed on a directed task.

"The operational role of Chaplains has been amply demonstrated in the past, as it is now by our three chaplains with the task group in Sierra Leone - our thoughts and prayers are with Michael Harman in HMS Illustrious, Ian Wheatley in HMS Ocean and Simon Beveridge with 42 Commando. The flexibility of amphibious forces will give them an increasingly important place in future operations and in order to give the greatest support to such forces we need a core of Commando-trained chaplains.

"During the next few years NCS will be encouraging more chaplains to undertake Commando training and we hope that around six will win their Green Berets over the next 18 months or so. The Naval Chaplaincy Service is committed to both ecumenical and inter-faith co-operation and in the coming months we hope to appoint the first non-Christian officiating Chaplains to the Armed Forces representing Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Sikh faiths. It will be a time of exploration and learning for us all as we open ourselves to the needs and beliefs of others whilst maintaining our commitment to our own traditions."

The Ven Simon Golding has been the Archdeacon for the Royal Navy and an Honorary Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen since March 17 1997. He was made an Honorary Canon of Gibraltar Cathedral in 1998. Born in Chelmsford on March 30 1946 his childhood was spent in India and he was educated in India and the United Kingdom. He attended St Xavier's School, Jaipur - the Junior School, Felsted - the Bishop's School, Poona and HMS Conway, the Merchant Navy Cadet School.

The Archdeacon served as a Navigating Officer with the British India Steam Navigation Company and was a Lieutenant (X) on List 1 of the Royal Naval Reserve. He trained for the Ordained Ministry at Brasted Place and Lincoln Theological College and was Ordained in York Minster in 1974 serving his Title in the Parish of St Cuthbert - Wilton in Cleveland.

The Archdeacon joined the Royal Navy in 1977 and his appointments have included HMS Raleigh, the first Commission of HMS Invincible, BRNC Dartmouth, the Hydrographic Flotilla, the Clyde Submarine Base and HMS Drake, HM Naval Base Devonport. He has served as Secretary to the Royal Naval Archdeaconry Synod and the Forces Synodical Council. As Archdeacon for the Royal Navy he is an "ex-officio" member of the General Synod of the Church of England.

Career highlights have included the award of a Commander in Chief's Commendation for his work with families at Yeovilton during the Gulf War; the part he played in the restoration of the Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church, Yeovilton, and the re-ordering of the Church of St Nicholas, HMS Drake, as an Ecumenical Church Centre.

In 1968 the Archdeacon married Anne Reynolds and they have two children; a son, Philip, who works as a consultant in the Hotel Industry and a daughter, Sarah, who is in her final year reading Banking and Financial Management at Loughborough University. His interests include Naval and military history, gardening, the maritime and aviation industries, railways and cricket.

He said: "The past few years have seen great changes in Chaplaincy, most of which have been for the better. Although change will, indeed must, continue in a Service which is continually changing, I believe that there is a need to consolidate the many changes and 'fly flat and level' for a time to catch our breath. Nonetheless, I am sure that the next few years will be an exciting time in my life which I look forward to with great anticipation."

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