CAPTION: Huw Riden is becoming an Army Chaplain to "share the Gospel in a military environment"

Devon curates train to become military chaplains

Posted: 20th August, 2020

For the last three years Rev’d Huw Riden has been a curate in Exmouth, but he is now swapping his clerical robes for military fatigues as he begins training to be an army chaplain.

Huw is a former member of the Parachute Regiment and his Littleham, Exmouth & Lympstone Mission Community has included Lympstone Royal Marine Commando Training Centre.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better place to have served my curacy,” he said.

Huw Riden capturing photographs in Jerusalem in 2019

Huw’s experience in the military included serving as a soldier in Northern Ireland, Macedonia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

This was followed by 10 years living in Dubai with his family as a military advisor to the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.

“I was blessed by the link which exists between the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf and the Diocese of Exeter, and was accepted for full-time ministry here in Devon.”

“This Sunday is my last day as a curate, after that, I go on to become an army chaplain, and after completion of the PQO (Professionally Qualified Officer’s) course at Sandhurst, I will be posted to a Signals Regiment near Salisbury.”

Huw said he was sad to be leaving the Diocese of Exeter but said “I think military chaplaincy will suit me.

“It will have its own challenges but it is about communicating the Gospel in a different setting and in a military environment.”

Huw also previously worked as a commercial photographer and has undertaken a number of photography projects for the diocese over the last two years.

He has also been filming and editing online services since March, including one in which he appeared to be hovering over Exmouth beach on a flying carpet!

New Naval Chaplains move onto their seagoing training aboard HMS ALBION. (Rev’d Will Sweeney, far left)

The Diocese of Exeter is also saying farewell to Fr. Charles Keay former Team Vicar of the Parish of St Thomas, Exeter and Fr. Will Sweeney, former Team Rector of the Plympton Team Ministry, who have both recently begun chaplaincies with the Royal Navy.

Charles Keay said:  “I feel sad leaving such a lovely community as this but yet also a sense of excitement too – and if I’m honest a slight degree of nerves – as I follow God’s call into a new and very different way of being a priest.”

Here’s a video of Rev’d Huw Riden reflecting on his time at the Diocese and his decision to become an Army Chaplain: