Members of the Newcastle Anna Chaplaincy network gathered at the Church of the Holy Nativity, Chapel House, Newcastle, on 25 June, the same venue where Debbie Thrower first joined those interested in this fledgling ministry.
Anna Chaplaincy got off the ground in the north-east seven years ago! The room buzzed with delight in each other’s fellowship and conversation, as local coordinator and reader Pam Nobbs welcomed everyone and gave updates on the local network’s history, activity and training.
Debbie Ducille, Anna Chaplaincy church lead for BRF, then offered a presentation entitled ‘How does your garden grow? Some essentials for flourishing Anna Chaplaincy ministry’. Using the image of how parts of a plant enable flowering and fruitfulness – the end product – the network reflected on how Anna Chaplains also need to be resourced, supported and sustained to be effective in their ministry. This was followed by encouraging input from the group’s newest Anna Chaplain, Beryl Austoni, and one of the earliest to take up the ministry, Joan Grenfell.
After a group-work session, exploring the place of training, resources, supervision structures and our own devotional life in a healthy ministry, those present enjoyed lunch and made plans to meet regularly in groups, to ensure more effective local support. The morning proved inspiring for those exploring Anna Chaplaincy too – so all kinds of growth was in evidence.
Our grateful thanks to Pam and all Newcastle network members for their energy, commitment and faithful ministry.