Lutheran pastor and Command Chaplain Darren Jaensch is being commissioned as the Australian Army’s new Director General Chaplaincy this month.
With the new rank of Principal Chaplain (Brigadier), Chaplain Jaensch will oversee the chaplaincy capability of, and chaplains within, the Australian Army. He will be responsible to the Chief of Army for overseeing the management of 71 full-time and approximately 100 part-time chaplains, recruitment, training and resourcing, support to Australian Defence Force Operations, and the provision of pastoral, spiritual and religious support to the Army workforce.
He will also become Principal Chaplain Protestant Denominations, which will entail oversight and care of all of the Protestant chaplains in the Army, as well as advising Army commanders on Protestant matters.
Chaplain Jaensch said he was ‘looking forward to having a more broad and enduring impact on the culture and effectiveness of Army Chaplaincy’.
‘In so doing, I hope to bring God’s blessing to the lives and families of those who give much of themselves in keeping our nation secure, so that we Australians can enjoy the freedoms we often take for granted’, he said.
‘There is both challenge and fulfilment in engaging with a flock that is largely unchurched and yet working in fields in which they necessarily encounter issues that have spiritual and eternal relevance.
‘The LCA’s leadership has, in recent years, consistently released a limited number of LCA pastors into this mission context. This has been both a positive display of civic responsibility and raised the profile of the LCA in the defence community.’
Formerly an LCA parish pastor at Ingham, Queensland, and Palmerston, Northern Territory, Chaplain Jaensch has been in ADF Chaplaincy for almost 20 years. He has had postings to regiments, training establishments and headquarters, a five–month exchange to the United Kingdom, and operational deployments to East Timor, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East.
He said the appointment to the new post was unexpected. The promotion was proposed by the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus J Campbell AO DSC, and confirmed by the government in August.
‘Despite some initial surprise and apprehension, I was very humbled to be appointed to this role’, Chaplain Jaensch said. ‘It is not something I have sought, but it is something I had been challenged to make myself available for, and encouraged that I had certain giftings for.’
Chaplain Jaensch will be commissioned on Monday 4 December at Duntroon, in the Australian Capital Territory.
The previous Lutheran pastor to serve in the role was Ern Sabel in the late 1980s–early 1990s. It was then known as Principal Chaplain – Army.