To watch Rob on Songs of Praise (on BBC iPlayer) click here.
Famous for his religious tattoos, Bath College chaplain Rob Popejoy has caught the eye of the Songs of Praise production team and is due to feature on the BBC One television programme on Sunday.
Chaplain Rob is part of the student participation team at Bath College and works to give students pastoral support through one to one mentoring sessions, as well as larger lessons and tutorials.
He has tattoos covering most of his body, including a picture of Jesus on his chest, and made the headlines back in 2014 when he was photographed bare-chested for a student project.
Called the ‘holy hipster’ and a ‘tattoo-loving vicar’, Rob was filmed by the Songs of Praise team last week for a short feature in which he talks about his tattoos and shares how he became a Christian.
Rob said: “My testimony came out, I talked about that and there was a lot of discussion about the church and how it’s represented in the secular world. One of the things I was asked is ‘are you trying to make God cool?’
“My tattoos are part of my personality. I’ve been getting tattoos ever since I had an active faith. Generally I have stuff that points towards a benchmark in my life, like being baptised and the year I came back to church.
“For my first tattoo I chose the words ‘for glory’ on my left arm. That was me stating what my life should be and what God wants me to be about.
“I didn’t choose to get tattooed to make myself cooler as a chaplain and I don’t do it to be a Christian witness to people, but it does happen to be a good by product of this – it’s a good conversation starter.”
Rob, who leads the Remembrance Day service and the Christmas carol concert at Bath College, also works as a youth pastor at St Michael’s in Twerton.
He had his tattoos filmed by the Songs of Praise team and was also filmed leading a tutorial for Bath College media students.
Rob said: “I think there should be a chaplain in every educational establishment. Even if you take religion out of it, I think there’s a need to provide pastoral support.
“I offer pastoral support to students and staff, mainly students, and promote awareness of other faiths to encourage an active dialogue around religion and faith – to challenge people into a deeper thought process.
“I’m both nervous and excited to see how I’m portrayed as a chaplain on Songs of Praise. In the Christian church world there are so many denominations, but you’ll find that we’re all believers.
“Yes, the crew came to film me, but if you go to another ‘young’ church, for example in London, there are other people like me with beards and tattoos. The difference is that they don’t have a job that gives them the same profile.”