I am writing to introduce myself as Bishop Visitor to the Brigade.
This is a new post, and its purpose is to enable spiritual and strategic support to the Brigade. As a serving diocesan bishop, I can represent the Brigade effectively to the Church of England in order to raise our profile and support our life as an organisation. I can work to ensure a strong and healthy relationship between the Church of England and the Brigade. And I can support and guide the Staff Chaplain, and a new Brigade Chaplain whom we will need to recruit and appoint, in their work of pastoral care.
What do I bring to this role? I am Bishop of the Isle of Man (‘Sodor and Man’ is the historic title, referring to the ‘Sodorensis’ of the Norse period, essentially the Hebrides, which used to be part of the Diocese). So, while that may occasionally make travel difficult, it also gives me a geographical independence! I have been in post here since September 2017, before which:
- I was assistant priest in the Parish of St Martin, Ruislip, Middlesex, from 1989 until 1992.
- I married Gail in 1992, and our first married home was an Army barracks in Germany.
- I was a chaplain in the British Army from 1992 until 2017.
In those 25 years, Gail and I lived in many different places, including England and Germany, Northern Ireland and Scotland and Wales, and I served with infantry regiments, a Mechanised Brigade, an Air Assault Brigade, an Armoured Division, and eventually the Army Headquarters. I accompanied soldiers on military operations in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
I was not a member of CLCGB in my younger life, but I hope and believe that I have experience which will now be beneficial and supportive in identifying the next chapters in the life of the Brigade. Further, as a Bishop of the Church of England, I can ensure that the Brigade remains visibly and meaningfully on the radar of my colleagues and the wider national Church. Finally, and as importantly as anything else, I will pray for you, and I invite your prayers for me also as I begin to engage with this new role.
With best wishes and prayers and greetings in Christ,
The Rt Revd PA Eagles Bishop of Sodor and Man