New Anna Chaplain commissioned

Jean Garrard, Lay Pastoral Assistant in the benefice of Charminster Stinsford and the Chalk Stream Villages, has become the first Anna Chaplain to be commissioned under a licence agreement between the Diocese of Salisbury and the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF).

Anna Chaplaincy is named after the widow, Anna, who appears with Simeon in Luke’s gospel; both are good role models of faithful older people. It is an ecumenical, accompanying, person-centred ministry of spiritual care for older people of all faiths, cultures, spiritualities and contexts, and for their families and carers. Anna Chaplaincy also offers advocacy for older people within church and community and works with people living independently in their own homes, in sheltered housing and retirement complexes and in residential and nursing homes.

Jean describes her growing sense of call to this ministry: "I have, for some time now, been concerned about the elderly people in our churches and communities. They are the backbone of our churches, with a lifetime of attendance and contributing in many ways. I think of those who are now housebound and lonely, and would appreciate a chat and a cup of tea, and more besides: to share a prayer or bible reading with them and help in other ways depending on their circumstances. These are the people that I hope to be able to reach out to, and to let them know that there is someone who cares about them, and is available to help them."

Supported by Revd Leila Mathers, (soon to be Incumbent of the benefice) Jean completed her online training with BRF earlier this year and was commissioned by Karen Hutchinson, Lay Ministry Development Officer, in a joyful service at St Mary’s, Charminster on 9 July.

To those considering developing their ministry, Bishop Karen said: ‘For those LPAs or LLMs with a particularly calling to minister amongst the elderly through visiting, taking Holy Communion, or perhaps leading worship in a local residential or nursing home, Anna Chaplaincy may be for you. It would be an extension of your current ministry, further equip you for ministry amongst older people and offer you a supportive community of other Anna Chaplains in the diocese.’

An information evening about Anna Chaplaincy will be offered to incumbents and those interested in this ministry on Zoom at 7pm on 26 September. Places can be booked through this link: Anna Chaplaincy Information Evening.

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