For United Church military chaplains, ministry at sea is ever-changing. Sometimes it is calm, while at other times rolling and churning, as do the waves.
Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters... —Psalm 107:23
And their chaplain went with them.
As the chaplain to Halifax's "Ship's Company," United Church minister Lt(N) Graeme Carruth will listen when a sailor talks about missing her wedding anniversary while at sea. He will offer consolation when another learns of a family death, working in partnership with chaplains back in Canada. Worship services will take place in the sanctuary of the ship's wardroom or on the flight deck, depending on where space is available and when. To paraphrase John Wesley, for navy chaplains "the ship is their parish."
Many navy veterans request that their remains be "committed to the deep." During his deployment, Padre Carruth will preside over those commendation ceremonies as well, providing veteran's families with the knowledge that their loved ones' wishes were respected.
Ministry at sea is ever-changing. Sometimes it is calm, while at other times rolling and churning, as do the waves. No matter the state of the seas, Padre Carruth will point to the presence of the Holy.
Until she returns to safe harbour, may the crew of HMCS Halifax – and their chaplain, Padre Graeme Carruth – find fair winds and following seas.
— Cdr, the Revd Dr. Shaun Yaskiw. Padre Yaskiw is the Senior United Church chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces. He and his family live and serve in Montreal.