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Military Moral Injury in the UK and the Netherlands: Learning from the Experience of Military Personnel Serving in these Contexts

 February 13, 2024

1:00 - 2:30 CST

This webinar provides an opportunity to learn from a British chaplain who has served in multiple contexts including Scotland, Afghanistan, and South Sudan, a chaplain from the Netherlands, and a former US Airforce officer currently doing research and teaching about moral injury at the International Center for Moral Injury in the UK. Our panelists bring active-duty combat experience, deep involvement in supporting veterans, and familiarity with the issues of moral injury. Their presentation will include attention to how military moral injury in their contexts is shaped by the experiential legacy of world wars on the soil of the UK and the Netherlands; the influence of increasing secularization in the chaplaincy; the challenges of sexual violence, racism, and moral injury in the UK and the Netherlands; and current strategies to address suicide within the military in the UK and the Netherlands.

Brian Powers, PhD. is the inaugural William Bernard Vann Fellow in Christianity and the Armed Forces at Durham University in the United Kingdom, a former Special Operations Weather Team officer in the U.S. Air Force and a veteran of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  A systematic theologian and author of Full Darkness:  A Original Sin, Moral Injury and Wartime Violence, he has written and presented extensively on the resonances between Augustinian doctrines of sin and moral injury at international gatherings of religious and anthropological scholars and has published several articles in academic and religious journals arguing for the applicability of theological doctrine in situations of moral trauma resulting from wartime violence.  He also serves as the executive director of the International Centre for Moral Injury, an academic research centre dedicated to deepening the understanding of moral injury internationally and exploring, cultivating and sharing sources of recovery.  Brian is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). 

Rev. Nicola R Frail, CF currently serves as Chaplain to Defence Medical Services at the Defence Medical Academy, which provides military medical education and training for the Royal Navy, Army, and Royal Air Force personnel. She provides pastoral care and spiritual support to Personnel. She was commissioned in 2012 as a full-time army chaplain and in 2014 deployed to Afghanistan as the Kabul Support Unit Chaplain. In 2017 she served in South Sudan as part of the UN Mission there. She has also served at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and as Senior Chaplain with 1 Armoured Infantry Brigade. She has studied at the University of Aberdeen, holds an MBA from the University of Denver, and an MDiv from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She earned an MTh from Cardiff University. She serves as convenor for the Royal Army Chaplains’ Dept. Moral Injury Community of Interest and is member of the steering group for the International Centre for Moral Injury and a trustee of the Veterans Chaplaincy Scotland.

Sanneke Browers is a chaplain in the Dutch Army. A Roman Catholic, she has served several units in the Dutch Army as well as one of its military schools. She is pursuing a PhD in practical theology addressing “Experiences of Moral Distress in the Military Context.” Her present duties include providing care for veterans outside active duty, education, presentations at “commemorations,” and being available to veterans in various settings. She served in several units of the Dutch Army at Inçirlik Airbase (USA) in Adana, Turkey (patriot air defense) during 2013-2014. As a chaplain, she seeks to assist veterans with the emotional burdens of moral injury and to establish recognition on the part of society for veterans’ experience of moral injury.

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