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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

A ‘super team’ in place in Berwick-upon-Tweed

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

Anna Friend Judith Jennings, Bishop Stephen Platten, Anna Friend Hazel Heycock, Revd Rachel Hudson, Anna Chaplain Mary Higginson, Anna Friends Grace Miller and Caroline Arthur, Debbie Ducille, Anna Chaplaincy church lead and Pam Nobbs, Anna Chaplaincy coordinator in the northeast.

A warm welcome to new Anna Chaplain Mary Higginson who was commissioned last

Sunday 8 January, at Tweedmouth Parish Church, Berwick-upon-Tweed. Retired Bishop Stephen Platten commissioned her and a whole new team to join the Anna Chaplaincy network; Mary Higginson became the church’s first Anna Chaplain, with Hazel Heycock, Judith Jennings, Grace Miller and Caroline Arthur commissioned as Anna Friends.

Mary described it as ‘an uplifting service incorporating Holy Communion along with the commissioning. A very real sense of unity and inclusivity was experienced throughout our time together. This was further engendered by the sermon on Romans 12 given by Nicola Denyer, who is the lay ministry development officer for Newcastle Diocese. She encouraged the whole congregation to explore their various callings to serve.’

She said it was also ‘a privilege to welcome Debbie Ducille, the Anna Chaplaincy church lead and Pam Nobbs who coordinates this ministry for Newcastle Diocese, both of whom had travelled quite a distance in order to be with us.’

Debbie said, ‘The whole morning was full of joy. A super new team is now in place with a wealth of experience between them, and with great support and encouragement from Revd Rachel Hudson, a long-standing supporter and friend to BRF.’

Anna Friend Judith Jennings, Bishop Stephen Platten, Anna Friend Hazel Heycock, Revd Rachel Hudson, Anna Chaplain Mary Higginson, Anna Friend Grace Miller, Nicola Denyer, Reader (LLM) and diocesan lay ministry development officer and Caroline Arthur, Anna Friend.

Mary has described her journey to Anna Chaplaincy in the following terms:

Mary Higginson

‘An affinity with the spiritual lives of older people has been a strand throughout my life. I recall one experience years ago when I took an African pastor to his grandmother’s village as she wanted to bless him before she died. The scene felt almost biblical.

‘A later, very different experience was in running a monthly lunch club for seniors at a local housing estate community centre. Whether they were churchgoers or non-believers, they all enjoyed the good food and fun activities. But in the busyness of it all, we missed opportunities to develop spiritual conversations.

‘Since the pandemic, my local church has encouraged me to train with Anna Chaplaincy and explore different approaches for encouraging older people in the community to open up to the spiritual dimensions of their lives.

‘On becoming an Anna Chaplain, I’ve been privileged to see local care homes opening their doors for a team of four Anna Friends and myself to visit individuals and to provide services. And so the journey continues!’

On the far right is Nicola Denyer, Reader (LLM) and lay Ministry development officer for Newcastle Diocese.




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