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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Anna Chaplains for Canterbury Diocese

Updated: Sep 28, 2019

In front of hundreds of well-wishers at an evening service in 'Celebration of Reader Ministry', two new Anna Chaplains (themselves Readers, or Licensed Lay Ministers, LLMs) in the Church of England were commissioned by the Bishop of Lambeth, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton.

Judith Andrews and Elizabeth Bryson were interviewed during the service in the historic surroundings of the cathedral Quire by Anna Chaplaincy Lead for Rochester and Canterbury, Julia Burton-Jones.

Canterbury Cathedral Quire

The acting Bishop of Dover, Bishop Tim, told a personal story of the challenges of ageing. His mother, he said, had died with Alzheimer's Disease, and her experiences had shown him how much those living with the disease may show us 'a different reality'.

Vital ministry

He said Anna Chaplaincy was 'a vital ministry', and he was delighted that both Rochester and Canterbury Dioceses were developing Anna Chaplaincy and supporting those wrestling with the challenges of ageing, and in particular dementia. He welcomed those responsible for Lay Vocations from another near neighbour, the Diocese of Southwark, as well .


Judith Andrews said that she saw her role as an Anna Chaplain in the Deanery of Thanet as being 'the centre of resources and ideas accessible to everyone, as well as nurturing and enabling volunteers'. She admitted to feeling 'both excited and scared by the task in front of me! But I know God will be there, whatever he asks of me.'


Colleague Elizabeth Bryson, who is an Anna Chaplain in Maidstone, has an ambition to see church services in every care home in her deanery. She reminded listeners that people living in care homes are parishioners in a parish and that each home has a requirement under the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulations to provide spiritual care for residents.

'I would love to see care home ministry develop like the Street Pastors,' she said, 'where people from all the churches in each deanery who feel called to this ministry receive training by becoming Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends. Anna Chaplaincy is ecumenical, parish-based chaplaincy to older people. So then together let us arrange that all care homes in each deanery and diocese are receiving church services.'



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