Bishop of Exeter visits BRNC
- Author: Nichola Winstanley
- Date: Thursday 2nd February 2017
The Right Reverend Robert Atwell, the Bishop of Exeter, has paid his first visit to Britannia Royal Naval College. Over two days he met with the Commanding Officer, Capt Jol Woodard, received a guided tour from a BA tour guide and an insight into the role the College plays in preparing young officers for their future careers.
The central event of his visit was to bestow the Sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation on three Officer Cadets under training. Having prepared for their confirmation over the past six weeks, the three Officer Cadets received the sacrament during a service held in the College Chapel, alongside six other candidates from three local parishes.
The Reverend Keith Robus, BRNC’s Church of England Chaplain, explained: “The Bishop of Exeter is the senior Church of England Clergyman for Devon, and the Royal Navy has a major presence in the county. In addition to BRNC there is HM Naval Base Devonport and the Commando Training Centre, Lympstone. The majority of RN personal in those areas live ashore in local parishes, and by getting to know the demands of training and Service life, the Bishop is able to pastor to them through his clergy. Bishop Robert has already visited HMS Drake in Plymouth and will be in Lympstone in February. The building of good personal relationships between the Royal Navy and the local church is crucial for seamless pastoral care.”
Other highlights of Bishop Robert’s visit included a chance to view some of the facilities the College has available and to witness at first-hand, some of the training taking place. His second day began at 0730 when he addressed the Officer Cadets with a ‘Thought for the Day’ during parade practice. Bishop Robert then took to the water, enduring the cold weather with new entry cadets, learning to drive Motor Whalers from Sandquay. He was shown the state-of-art bridge simulator used primarily for navigation and Officer of the Watch training and joined in there as the ‘Ship’s Captain’.
Bishop Robert said: “I had a wonderful 24 hours at the Royal Naval College, and was so impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm of the staff and cadets, who come from a huge range of backgrounds. It was a great privilege to be invited into the College to baptise and confirm three Officer Cadets, alongside six other people from three local parishes.”
Just one day after the Bishop of Exeter left BRNC another member of Devon’s Senior Anglican Clergy made an acquaint visit. The Right Reverend Sarah Mullally, the Suffragan Bishop of Crediton spent half a day here with members of the Clergy Deanery Chapter from Totnes.