‘One of the joys of serving as an Anglican Chaplain in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)’ says Chaplain Brad Galvin ‘is learning and experiencing the various Navy traditions. One tradition in particular, which is quite unique and well loved by RAN members and their families is using the Ship’s Bell as a Baptismal Font.’ Usually the baptism is conducted on either the quarterdeck of a warship or the casing of a submarine.
This year Brad had the wonderful privilege of baptising little Alice Martin on the casing of HMAS Farncomb, which is one of our Collins Class Submarines. After the baptism Alice’s name and the date of her baptism was engraved into the boat’s bell. A nice surprise for Brad on the day was meeting a friend of the family who had a long connection with HMAS Farncomb. Her name was Samantha and she was the very first person to get her name engraved in the boat’s bell when she was baptised 22 years ago.
As special as these traditions are the real joy – for this Chaplain – is spending time getting to know the family, talking about the promises they will make in raising their child as a Christian and helping them get connected to a local church, if they are not already.
The real joy for Brad is sharing the hope found in our Lord Jesus with gentleness and respect. Or in the words of the Apostle Peter,
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16