• Debbie Thrower

A second Anna Chaplain for Northampton

Anna Chaplain, Sue Pinington

A commissioning service for new Anna Chaplain Sue Pinington was held at St Peter’s Church, Weston Favell, Northampton last Sunday, 9 January 2022.

‘It was part of our main 10.00 am service for Epiphany. I was commissioned by our rector, Revd Canon Beverley Hollins and intercessions were led by Liz Kelly, Anna Chaplain from the nearby parish of Abington.

‘My ministry journey started in 2012 when my then incumbent caught me as I left the church and asked if I could come round for a chat sometime soon. There followed a series of several discussions about some training that was available in the diocese for lay pastoral ministry. I applied for the training, was accepted and began a two-year course which resulted in a licence from the bishop of Peterborough. My interest within this ministry was always in the elderly and I very quickly became part of the pastoral team supporting our local care home. We ran two services a week, a Eucharist on Thursday mornings and Evensong on Sundays.

‘Gradually I took over the organising of those services, making sure we had a rota in place and involving others within my church to help support the services. Unfortunately, we had to drop the Evensong service due to dwindling numbers and lack of musicians able to support us.’

Anna Chaplaincy – ‘I was hooked’

‘In 2019 I commenced reader (licensed lay ministry) training, being licensed in 2020, and now have the bishop’s licence to “preach, teach and lead worship”. St John’s Home remains my main interest though, and when our new incumbent gave me some literature about Anna Chaplaincy, I was hooked. I love the idea of having a network of countrywide experienced chaplains behind me and I know I will rely heavily on their experience to consolidate my ministry.

‘As soon as the lockdown restrictions began to lift I was delighted to be allowed back into the care home again and we continue with our weekly service there, although it was sad to find out that so many of our regular attenders had died during the pandemic.

Liz Kelly, Revd Canon Beverley Hollins and Sue Pinington

‘On Sunday 9 January at our Epiphany service, I was commissioned as an Anna Chaplain, the second in the diocese of Peterborough. The first, Liz Kelly, led the prayers at the commissioning service at my church of St Peter’s, Weston Favell, which was led by Canon Beverley Hollins who is now our rector. Jane, the manager of St John’s Home also was present. Liz actually interviewed me many years ago when I was applying for lay ministry training, and we are in neighbouring parishes.

‘I feel as though I still have a lot to learn about Anna Chaplaincy and have signed up for the course in February. At the moment I’ll concentrate on the care home; I’m still working part-time and need to be careful not to overstretch myself. I’ve had several discussions with the care home manager about how to reach more residents there, maybe by breaking away from simply having Eucharistic services to having Songs of Praise and maybe even Messy Vintage!

‘I ran a service of Lessons and Carols just before Christmas which was very well received by staff and residents there and I’m interested in being available for chats with the staff, residents and relatives. In time I hope to extend invitations to the sheltered housing complexes within the parish and just be the person elderly people within our church community can come to. I think the ministry will just evolve as we see a need and I look forward to the next few years with great anticipation.’

Debbie Thrower, pioneer of Anna Chaplaincy writes, ‘Many congratulations to Sue and to Liz and we wish them all the best with the work they are doing in their respective parts of Northampton.’