Kent Police & Sea Cadets

Kent Police and Sea Cadets' Chaplain
        The Rev Nigel Bourne

As former naval weapons engineer, the Rev Nigel Bourne, tells me about the images of HMS Bristol and HMS Intrepid hanging on his wall, he is interrupted by Bouncer, the house rabbit, scratching at his slippers for a nose rub.

Nigel is the Vicar of Chalk but has several chaplaincy roles, including that of Chaplain to Kent Police and to the Sea Cadets. Talking about his thoughts on chaplaincy, Nigel said,”I think chaplains are always people who have a heart for people; you have got to be someone who is willing to get out there, see people and want to listen to their stories. 'Willing to come alongside people' is the phrase I would use.”

Often called upon for a thought of the day for the sea cadets, Nigel said, “I try to be visual, for example, I have used the code flag ‘G’ which is flown by the guide ship in any manoeuvres. The point I wanted to make is that we all have to follow the guide, in our case the guide is Jesus.”

Nigel attended a chaplains' course in Portsmouth to learn about the values he needed to deliver to the sea cadets. He said, “The sea cadets have realised a value system is important to the life of young people so, rather than just seeing their role as only someone that listens to people’s problems, chaplains can be involved in developing the character of young people or raising issues concerning character. The ‘core values’ are commitment, loyalty, discipline, courage, respect and integrity. The chaplain has the chance in small groups, to tease out what these issues mean, not only theoretically but how they might apply in real situations.“

For Nigel, the Kent Police Chaplaincy is about striking up relationships with individual officers or members of the police family. He aims to visit the police station once a month in the morning. He added, “I quite often meet up with either the beat officer or the community support officer, also the KCC warden once a week, so we have our finger on the pulse all the time.”

Nigel said that those to whom he ministers in the force often talk about their frustrations with life or paperwork, but he added, ““I’ve noticed that when new police stations have been built, the idea of respect for a religious or a spiritual dimension to life is on the agenda. For example, a quiet room was included at Gravesend, where people of all faiths are able to go - a place which is away from the normal hustle and bustle of the police station and all the hassles it brings.”

Nigel says a difficulty he faces in his chaplaincy work is that he feels it’s very hard to provide everything he would want to. He said, “I think it’s just another opportunity to show that Christians care. It’s not just about facts and the Bible, but it's love in action and love informed by the Bible and our worship.”

Copyright 2015 © The Diocese of Rochester. Registered Office: St Nicholas’ Church, Boley Hill, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1SL. Registered Charity No. 249339 The Rochester Diocesan Society and Board of Finance is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No. 140656