The Archbishop and the Armed Forces

Archbishop with Armed Forces chaplains

The Army, Navy and the Air Force all have dedicated chaplains who travel on the frontlines. The Anglican church in the British Armed forces falls under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is assisted in this role by the Bishop at Lambeth, who acts as Bishop to the Forces.

Forces chaplains are often on the frontlines with men and women in the forces, accompanying them to dangerous areas, providing spiritual guidance and help.

Archbishop Justin meets regularly with key leaders in the armed forces who are responsible for the chaplains. Once a year he invites all the forces chaplains to Lambeth Palace to talk through key issues and listen to their concerns and experiences.

The Archbishop also makes regular visits so he can engage with the reality of everyday life for forces personnel. His time with the forces informs his thinking and his prayer life.

At a strategic level, Archbishop Justin sees the armed forces as major stakeholders in reconciliation.

He regularly expresses his appreciation for the careful and informed way they go about engagement in some of the most complex and demanding parts of the world.

"The privilege of ministering with the people in the Armed Services is absolutely crucial to our understanding of the role of the church.”

Archbishop Justin Welby

In 2015, Archbishop Justin and Archbishop John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, signed the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant.

This commits the Church of England to recognise and care for Armed Forces personnel, veterans and families.