News Release

First Conference Sponsored by the Church in the UK for Latter-day Saint-Endorsed Chaplains Focuses on Christlike Love and Service

Prison and vocational chaplains and chaplaincy leadership in the UK and US gather to learn, support, and strengthen faith

L-R John Smith, Jay Marshall, and Tamara Harris2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Chaplains endorsed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held the first Conference sponsored by the Church for Latter-day Saint Chaplains on 2-3 May 2023 in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire. Elder Robert F. Schwartz, Area Seventy (senior leadership) of the Church was the keynote speaker who focused on the theme, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).


He was joined by Tamara Harris, who serves as the Chaplain Service Manager for the Church and former Chaplain Richard Peter Roggia who is the Associate Endorser of Military Relations for the Church. They travelled from Salt Lake City, Utah to lend their support and expertise to the conference attended by prison and hospital chaplains from the Church throughout the UK. Chaplain Endorser, C Todd Linton had earlier suggested that there be a Conference sponsored by the Church like the October Chaplains Conference provided in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Chaplain Jay Marshall conducted one of the sessions dealing with the sensitive topic of suicide. He is the National Faith Advisor for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and the Chair of the UK and Ireland Chaplaincy Council and member of the UK and Ireland Advisory Committee to Chaplaincy established under the leadership of Elder K Roy Tunnicliffe.

Jay said, “Much of the time a chaplain in the UK spends with individuals is dealing with aspects of suicide. It can become an emotional rollercoaster so as chaplains, we need to look after each other and support one another. We can help to add light to a person’s life as we listen to the impressions from the Holy Spirit as to what is needed.”

Elder Allen Blake Boatright and his wife Sister Miriam Hawkes Boatright assisted in organising the conference as part of their responsibilities as volunteer senior missionaries for the Church. Elder Boatright is also a retired US Army chaplain and was formally endorsed by the Church.

He shared some of his personal and professional experiences with attendees saying, “When someone is in a dark and seemingly hopeless place, the gentleness of the Spirit can pierce that darkness. It doesn’t take much light to make a lot of difference in a dark place.”

Reverend Dr Andrew Teal, Chaplain at Pembroke College, Oxford University gave some guidance about “Ministry Moments that Began Badly and Ended Sublimely.” He said to practice asking ourselves, “What can we as chaplains, teachers, ministers do to make our place of chaplaincy a safe and welcoming place, where everyone is welcome and supported in finding and worshipping God?”


Other topics in the two-day conference included professional development, spiritual renewal, updates in the Church Handbook regarding Military Relations, and the process of becoming a “sending church” where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can “send” a chaplain candidate to the UK Armed Forces.

Joel Matthews, Candidate for Endorsement to the UK Military by the Church is currently enrolled in Graduate School at St Mary’s Twickenham, UK. He said, “I am humbled at the prospect of becoming a Latter-day Saint chaplain in the British military.”



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