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Contact with New Zealand

Contact with New Zealand

Each month the Senior Chaplain sent a report to the Chaplains' Advisory Council in New Zealand and, in addition, had much correspondence with the civilian Church leaders. The denominational Senior Chaplains also sent regular reports to their own Church leaders. But most of this correspondence can be dismissed as routine administrative business. A much wider system of reporting was needed before the ordinary Church member in New Zealand page 123 could appreciate the work of the chaplains and the spiritual life of the soldier; every other phase of Army life was described by the war correspondents of the Public Relations Service and their reports found their way into most of the newspapers and journals in the Dominion. It is true that a few chaplains had written articles for religious papers, and sometimes extracts from their letters had been published, but this did not give an adequate picture of the chaplains' work. In the first place, chaplains were too modest to describe their own exploits, and secondly, most of these descriptions concerned work at Base.

In 1944 an attempt was made to encourage all the chaplains to put on paper some description of their work. These articles were edited at Base and sent on to New Zealand for as wide a distribution in the newspapers as possible. In the editing the articles became anonymous, and the chaplains wrote more freely when there was no suggestion that they were trying to advertise their own individual actions. Moreover, by editing it was possible to keep the subjects in proportion and individual chaplains could be mentioned by name when their work was worthy of praise. This method of reporting never grew to adequate proportions and yet its possibilities and importance were clearly shown.