Officials from the Canadian Armed Forces, serving with the Royal Canadian Navy in Halifax, Nova Scotia, were invited by the Naval Chaplaincy School (NCS) Commanding Officer to attend the first week of Basic Leadership Course (BLC) to evaluate the suitability of such training for their incoming or junior Naval chaplains. Over the space of five days, 24-29 February, our NATO partner to the North, represented by senior Royal Canadian Navy senior leaders Chaplain (LCOL) Dennis Newhook and Chaplain (LCDR) David Jackson of the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service (SIC), attended numerous Basic Leadership Course modules and met with the Commanding Officer, CAPT Charles Varsogea, to rekindle agreements disrupted by the Covid phenomenon, and forge new training alliances. The invitation extended to the Professional Development Training Workshop and Course (PDTW/PDTC) annual training, which proffers specifically Naval training content, a dynamic of chaplaincy training not currently available for Royal Canadian Navy chaplains whose training primarily emerges from and consists of Army content.

A cornerstone of US Naval Chaplaincy care, namely confidentiality, was a module of particular interest to the Chaplains Newhook and Jackson, as it remains a contested and unsettled issue for the Canadian Armed Forces. Additionally, the concerted effort by the Navy to strengthen resiliency through enhanced emotional Intelligence (EI) led to exploring the possibility of delivering this autumn MyNavy Coaching training in domains within the Royal Canadian Navy.

Chaplains Newhook and Jackson had the opportunity to address and field question from students attending BLC, and interact with a number of department heads, finding overlapping periods of service with several current staff member of the NCS. Their visit concluded with an invitation for CAPT Varsogea to address the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service in Halifax, on the subject of the USS Navy’s focus on Spiritual Readiness, and inquiries regarding the attendance of senior Canadian Chaplains at Advance Leadership Course and commitments to PDTW/PDTC in FY2025. Spiritual Readiness describes the strength of spirit which enables the warfighter to accomplish the mission with honor. The Chaplain Corps considers spiritual readiness to be its “north star” and organizing principle.

By Editor