Anglican and Catholic Bishops meet army

 The Church of England Bishop of the second largest diocese in England, visited Colchester Garrison, the home of 16 Air Assault Brigade - Britain's largest Brigade - yesterday, accompanied by his Roman Catholic counterpart. The purpose of the visit is to give spiritual, pastoral and moral support to servicemen and women and their families stationed in Colchester as military action in the Gulf looms. The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd John Perry, and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brentwood, the Rt Revd Thomas McMahon, are spending time with the Garrison Commander, Colonel Tony Barton, visiting parts of the garrison, meeting with the Army welfare service, the Garrison Chaplain, the Revd Nick Cook, and hearing of some of the difficulties and stresses which are now facing army personnel. Colchester Garrison is normally home to just under 4,000 personnel and their families, 2,500 of whom are now currently serving in Kuwait. The Bishops said: "Great uncertainty faces the men and women of our armed services and their families at this difficult time. Whilst we all pray that a war may be avoided, we want to pay tribute to the dedication and commitment of our servicemen and women and their families. They will be much in our prayers, and we will want to give as much practical and spiritual support as possible to all those involved. The clergy and people in the parishes of our dioceses are ready to offer practical and spiritual help to all involved in this operation." The Revd Nick Cook, Chaplain of Colchester Garrison, said: "We welcome the visit and pastoral concern of the bishops, who are keen to express their support and encouragement in prayer and visiting, to those caught up in events in the Gulf, those who remain and particularly for families and loved ones of those deployed. "The Army has always had close links with the Church and is served by chaplains from all the mainstream denominations. There are currently seven chaplains deployed with 16 Air Assault Brigade in the Gulf region, three Church of England, two Roman Catholic, two Baptist and one Church of Scotland. Tri-service chaplains deployed in support of UK forces number over 60, including Volunteer Reserve Chaplains (with 37 drawn from the Army)." Source: CoE Comms

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