A Tribute to Revd Bill Cave

It is with sadness that we heard this week of the death of our friend and colleague, Revd Bill Cave. Bill died peacefully after a short fight with cancer on Easter Sunday. As a friend said, “What a glorious day to return to the Lord. He died as he lived, peaceful and serene”.

I was first introduced to Bill as Chaplain of the prison ship here in England, HMP Weare where he served faithfully before going on to be Chaplain at IRC The Verne. Bill always sought to be in those places where he felt God needed him most, and ministered diligently even in what were sometimes grim circumstances. Bill, however had been involved in Chaplaincy for a long time before I ever met him, both in university and in prisons. In his last years he continued with a theme of justice, serving as a chaplain with Wiltshire Police. His commitment to serve as an Anglican priest, but also as a careful pastor and prophetic voice inspired me personally, and many many others throughout his life. We will all miss his humour, his energy, his quiet but clear voice, and his passion to grasp the nettle of life; even where that may cause him pain.

From 2012 – 2017 Bill served as Vice Chair of IPCA (Europe). I can vividly remember both his pitch for the role at our quinquennial in Romania, and also his joy at being selected to serve. The honour and responsibility of serving chaplains across Europe always seemed to drive him on, and his enviable connections enabled him to work together with the previous committee to help deliver what I feel was one of the most memorable gatherings of European Prison Chaplains in Cambridge. Our formal dinner together in one of Cambridge University’s grand halls was both so much like Bill, and one of those events that will go down I believe as part of IPCA folklore.

From that event in Cambridge, Bill planted the seeds of developing relationships with our family of prison chaplains in Ukraine, and the consequent mini-conference held in Kyiv in 2018 was really his brainchild. None of us could have known at that time of the long-lasting impact this visit would have on those of us who went, nor on how deep the relationships with our brothers who still minister there would grow. In these days of warfare in that country, it is the relationships built whilst wearing a garment of peace that mean that support, prayers and care all have a reality that goes beyond shelling and invasion. It is in the unity of fellowship that God’s blessings are most present.

Bill absolutely taught me, and I believe many of us, that in our ministry as Prison Chaplains, it is the relationships forged with the common goal of doing what is right, and serving those most in need that makes a difference for the gospel of Christ to all of those around us. His commitment to peace, to human rights, to fellowship and to the eternal consequences of living well as a disciple served us in IPCA, but more than that demonstrated a life where the Holy Spirit was happy to dwell, and overflow to others.

Bill’s inspiration, life and comfort will be missed by so many. We are so thankful for having known such a faithful disciple as our friend.


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