17 June 2022
A service of celebration and commitment was held at St Michael’s Garrison Church, Tidworth on Sunday 12 June to welcome Revd Michael D Parker as the new Chaplain General and Revd David Barrett as the Deputy Chaplain General to Her Majesty’s Land Forces.
This means that for the first time, Methodist ministers now occupy the two most senior chaplaincy positions in the British Army.
The service was presided over by the Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of the Methodist Conference, with the Revd Dr Andrew Wood, Head of Ministries, preaching. Music before the service was provided by the Waterloo Band 7 RIFLES, with the Fijian Methodist Fellowship Choir singing during the service.
Revd Mike Parker was born in Cornwall and initially trained as an electrical engineer for the Ministry of Defence. He read Theology at the University of Birmingham and trained for Methodist ministry at Queen’s College (now The Queen’s Foundation). He worked in the Colchester Methodist Circuit for four years and was commissioned into the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department in 2000. Operational service has taken him to Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Revd David Barrett was originally from Blackpool and trained to be a Methodist minister in Bristol before being ordained in 1992. Following church appointments in Kent, he joined the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department in 1999 and served as a regimental chaplain in both the United Kingdom and Germany, before becoming a Senior Chaplain in 2010. More recently, David was Assistant Chaplain General to the 1st (United Kingdom) Division in York. During his time in the Army he has deployed on operations to the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Chaplain General, Revd Mike Parker, commented, “I am delighted to have been welcomed to my new position and there was a real sense of celebration and blessing at the service.
“As chaplains, we have time for people and to care for them. That’s what we do in a non-judgmental way. We celebrate with them. We listen to them when they’re having problems. We are there for them in all of the challenges that they might face, whether on operations, serving at home or during times of separation from their families.”
Deputy Chaplain General, Revd David Barrett, commented, “It is an honour to be the Deputy Chaplain General. My role will be to support our chaplains in the work that they’re doing in frontline ministry.
“It’s been a great journey. I was a Methodist circuit minister working in Kent when I felt a call to come into the Army and I’ve had a succession of fantastic postings along the way, eventually arriving in Army Headquarters.”
The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of the Methodist Conference, commented, “I was delighted to preside over this service of celebration and commitment, particularly on this occasion, when both the new Chaplain General and the Deputy Chaplain General are Methodists being welcomed to their positions.
”There is a strong link between military chaplaincy and Methodism. As a denomination, we are privileged to have a presence in the armed forces and indeed in other parts of the nation’s life as chaplains.”