A Channel Islands first
A warm welcome to Helen Sheppard, who has been a network member since 2020 in her role as Evergreen’s coordinator at Holy Trinity Church, Guernsey, the Channel Islands, and has now been commissioned as an Anna Chaplain.
Helen has been drawn to the Anna Chaplaincy model since her role began in 2017 but says she really felt the Lord begin to speak to her in 2021 about those who were hidden, particularly the housebound and people with dementia.
After completing the Anna Chaplaincy online course later that year, Helen felt affirmed in this when she prayed for a lady who was dying and sensed the Holy Spirit's nudge that she was in the 'right place'. Helen is the first Anna Chaplain in the islands, bringing the total number nationally to more than 220.
Helen is married to Jon and has a grown-up daughter and son. She has been worshipping at Holy Trinity since 2012 and says a few of her favourite things are 'a great book, gardening on a sunny day, arts and crafts and the colour yellow'.
With the Lord's help, it is Helen's mission to help people live well and die well. Also to love and affirm the value of older adults, no matter what stage of life they find themselves in.
She feels 'so blessed and privileged to have been given the gift of this opportunity'.
Helen was commissioned on Sunday 3 April. She said, 'It was a beautiful and very special service and we followed the format that was suggested by the Anna Chaplaincy team.'
There was support from her close-knit team of volunteers, family and friends, including Jon, the vicar, Bebe, the pastoral care coordinator, and Ros, the spiritual director (all of who are photographed opposite).
Helen also added:
'It is special days like these where the missing physical presence of a loved one can feel more profound. But I realised an amazing thing, which is that I wouldn't be working in this beautiful gift of a role if it hadn't been for my mother's birth into heaven (her earthly death). This reminded me that up from the ashes… hope will arise.'
'My prayer is, that throughout this ministry, those I meet might see and know something of this beautiful love and hope, during whatever season they find themselves in.'