As a Chaplain of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, you are appointed to provide ministry to Air Force personnel (both military and civilian) and their families. You are expected to be a friend and advisor to all. It is a unique ministry which can take you to the four corners of the earth, on sea, or land deployments, wherever Air Force personnel are required to serve. You are an integral part of the Air Force and Defence Force Team.
You are responsible at both official and personal levels, for conducting religious services and ceremonial duties. You are also required to provide spiritual, religious and moral advice and assist with life-skills education. You are there to provide pastoral care to all personnel. You need to be available to assist in times of crisis or emergency, both at the personal and organisational level and are expected to observe a high level of confidentiality.
While on deployment, a Chaplain will conduct many of the same duties as their in camp role, as well as duties specific to an Operational theatre.
Because of the increased danger and higher risk to life while in theatre, a Chaplain may be called upon to conduct funereal rites/ramp ceremonies, conduct memorial services or assist with Critical Incident Management. In line with this they may be required to provide on going grief support to a Unit with a view to keeping deployed personnel focussed on the mission.
Chaplain’s provide a humanising presence in what can become a dehumanising environment. They can also act as a bridge builder between the host community (especially where religion is held in high regard) and the contingent.
As a trained first-line counsellor, in theatre, the Chaplain can be in a sense, a maintainer of morale and of the human spirit. A professional ‘friend’ or ‘carer’ supporting soldiers and thereby releasing command to concentrate on the soldiering side of the mission.
You will enter the Air Force with the support of your Church and remain under its discipline for the exercise of your ordination/accreditation vows. Chaplaincy therefore is an institution of both the State (The NZ Defence Force) and the Church and you will need the on-going support of both.
Both the Church and NZDF needs to understand this partnership and the possible areas of tension. It is also important that you to understand this unique relationship and to appreciate that you will have two distinct but complementary lines of accountability.
Defence Force Chaplains carry no rank but you are normally commissioned on entry as Chaplain Class 4 (Lieutenant equivalent), with your salary and seniority in rank dependant upon previous ministry experience. Your progress through the Chaplaincy Classes, with each Chaplaincy Class corresponding to an Officer rank level, is essentially a time and course based system, although time in rank does not guarantee progression to the next class.
Your initial remuneration will be based on previous experience and skill level. This is negotiated on a case by case basis. As your career continues, remuneration will increase on promotion and seniority.
Applicants are to have recognised professional qualifications and experience in Scripture, Theology and Pastoral Ministry in accordance with their own denominational requirements. In addition applicants must satisfy the following criteria:
You will be expected to pass both the routine medical examination and the fitness test.
Armed Forces Chaplains are required to be qualified in theological, military and chaplain specialist matters. To ensure you are qualified to appropriate levels, military and some chaplaincy training will be given in initial, continuation and advanced stages of your career with the RNZAF.
You will be also be required to maintain links with your own denomination, attending training events, retreats, and annual conferences as appropriate. Chaplains may also be required to attend suitable military administration and staff courses during their career.
There are a number of short courses that Chaplain’s are encouraged to do to assist them in there role with the RNZAF including:
You will minister not only from the comfort of the Chapel on Base (locations throughout New Zealand), but may be required to deploy on operations often in austere and hostile environments, under military operational conditions.