THE Army Chaplains’ question becomes more acute as the British forces increase. It is ridiculous to suppose that a system, hidebound by red-tape, which sufficed for our “contemptible little Army” in peace time is going to suffice for a force of 3,000,000 or more at the present moment. We have something serious to say on the matter in our leading columns to-day, and here we will do no more than refer briefly to the matter as it was brought to the notice of the House of Lords on Wednesday by Lord Balfour. It seems that in some quarters the temporary appointment of Bishop Gwynne of Khartoum as Deputy Chaplain-General to the Expeditionary Force, with the rank of Major-General, has created a misunderstanding. The senior Chaplain at the front is Dr. Simms, a Presbyterian, whose rank is that of a Brigadier-General. In virtue of his seniority, he has the direction of all the chaplains, but, as the English Church chaplains equal in number those of all the other denominations together, and there are many matters concerning Churchmen over which a Presbyterian should obviously have no control, this new arrangement was much to be desired. It was brought about at the urgent request of the Archbishops and Bishops, who realized several months ago that the Chaplains’ Department of the War Office had in effect broken down, and that something had to be done. The appointment of Bishop Gwynne was only one step towards reform. A great deal more needs to be done, if the Church’s ministrations to its own members are to be adequately provided.
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