Former ADF Chaplain: Spiritual Health is Vital to Armed Forces - Hope 103.2

Former ADF Chaplain: Spiritual Health is Vital to Armed Forces

Rev Ralph explains that being a listening ear and "someone to talk to... really does assist them in powerful ways."

By Laura BennettWednesday 24 Apr 2024Hope MorningsNewsReading Time: 2 minutes

Serving our country is an honourable thing to do, but we know it’s not easy.
Key points
  • Rev. Ralph Esterby says the spiritual health of our armed forces is crucial to their overall wellbeing.
  • Rev. Ralph says that providing a listening ear and “someone to talk to and process some of their own stuff really does assist them in powerful ways.”
  • Hear the full conversation in the listener above.

There are enough stories about the PTSD experienced by former service personnel and the challenges of returning to civilian life that it’s impossible to disregard the costs involved in signing up.

With that in mind though, people continue to serve and protect our country’s values, and we need to make sure we’re supporting their wellbeing.

Rev. Ralph Esterby is a former ADF Chaplain, now National Director and CEO of Chaplaincy Australia and for him, the spiritual health of our armed forces is crucial to their overall wellbeing.

Rev. Ralph spoke to Hope Afternoons’ Laura Bennett about the role of chaplaincy in the ADF, and why it’s something service personnel need access to.

“All people have some level of spirituality, whether they’re Christian or whether they’re from another faith group and the chaplain is able to as part of their role, help engage with that person in terms of their spirituality and help them find the strength that can come from that,” he said.

Rev. Ralph says that providing a listening ear and “someone to talk to and process some of their own stuff really does assist them in powerful ways.”

Sometimes, people just need a non-judgemental, listening ear.

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“Being non-judgemental. – that is the biggest challenge and biggest opportunity that chaplains really have.


“By just being there and by being an available human so that someone can have someone to talk to and process some of their own stuff really does assist them in powerful ways.”

For Rev. Ralph, ANZAC Day is very significant.

“I served for a number of a years as a uniformed chaplain.

“ANZAC Day is an opportunity to… stand there and take that moment where we honour that statement of ‘lest we forget’.

“Where we actually say, others have gone before us and I’m really proud to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with those that have served.

“And I’m really proud to be able to stand and remember those who have given their life and are not able to stand with us today.”

Hear the full conversation in the listener above.


Feature image: Photo by CanvaPro