Anna Chaplain Shirley Smith admits to being ‘a Martha’!
Updated: Jan 25
Congratulations to Shirley Smith who was commissioned recently in Morpeth, Northumbria. Pastor Mike Willis commissioned her as Anna Chaplain at a service on 8 January at her church, New Life Morpeth Pentecostal Church.
Shirley joins the team of Anna Chaplaincy colleagues in and around Morpeth, Newcastle and across the northeast. We asked her to describe what drew her to Anna Chaplaincy:
‘I am Shirley Smith, married with three children, our youngest Jacob now lives with our heavenly Father. I have been a Christian for 40-plus years. All through my Christian life, older people have played a significant role in my ministry. I believe my calling comes from James 1:27 – “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” In this I include older people, as it is within the sentiment of this verse (I am sure Jesus won’t mind). When our children were younger, we fostered eleven young children, so I think I have managed to cover the first part of that verse.
‘We moved to Northumberland three years ago, when I felt Holy Spirit say that I just needed to sit at Jesus’ feet, where I am typically much more of a Martha!! Then the pandemic hit us all, so that was pretty much all I could do.
‘It was about this time last year we were at the church my son and his wife attend; the service was led by two chaplains. This was when I felt Holy Spirit speak to me and say this is your next job. I tried telling him that he had picked the wrong person. I am much happier as a back-room person than someone up front.
‘However, that voice would not go away. I went to see my pastor thinking he would just laugh and send me on my way, instead he pointed me in the direction of the local mental health trust. The doors just didn’t open there. Researching chaplaincy, I discovered the Anna Chaplains who sounded more like me and the work I was already doing with older people.
‘The more I read and prayed, it became clear that this was the path that Holy Spirit was leading me down. Which in turn, eventually led me to do the training and be commissioned.
‘My commissioning service was a very special day with lots of fun and laughter. I think the highlight for me was when my son prayed and prophesied over me. I am looking forward to meeting and joining with the Anna Chaplain team in Morpeth.’