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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

An Anna Chaplain at last! Claire joins the Isle of Wight team

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

Claire Whatley was commissioned as an Anna Chaplain by area dean Revd Steve Daughtery on Sunday 23 October 2022 at 4.00 pm at St John’s Church, in Newport on the Isle of Wight.

Revd Steve Suttcliffe led the service and found himself preaching as well when the expected speaker was unable to attend. The church choir of which Claire is also a member led the singing and almost raised the roof with praise. The Area Dean was very impressed! Anne Powell, the island’s first Anna Chaplain was also present, along with Claire’s husband, children and grandchildren. The service was preceded by an amazing thunderstorm and followed by a fantastic spread of cakes with tea and coffee, and with lots of conversations.

Read of Claire’s journey to becoming an Anna Chaplain in her own words:

‘For many years now I have felt that God has been asking me to do something for him. I have always been involved in outreach work, both in my previous parish, where I worked with the Church youth club and the local Scout troop. In my current parish, I have been involved both with the carer and toddler group, as a leader and as a helper. I then found myself responding to the call of being part of a care committee and actively engaging with members of the church who were ill and needed visiting. This, in turn, led to the development of a prayer chain, allowing those who perhaps could not, through circumstance, visit to feel that they could support those who needed it through prayer. I then with encouragement went on to train as a lay worship leader and a lay pastoral assistant and have been leading Wednesday services and visiting under the direction of the clergy.

Claire Whatley

‘Whilst all this was going on I found myself helping at a lunch club for the older members of the community. Gradually over time, the call has become more focused on working with the lunch club, listening to them and encouraging them in their crafting efforts. These have produced many lovely items that have gone into shoeboxes and out into the community to raise funds for various charities both locally and internationally.

‘I have had several great encouragers that have supported me as I have explored becoming an Anna Chaplain, one especially has been walking alongside me for the past 15 years and was thrilled to bits when he was well enough to attend my licencing!

‘I aim to build my chaplaincy up through the lunch club, secure in the knowledge that God will never ask me to do more than I can manage; and I look forward to joining up with the other Anna Chaplains that are currently being trained on the Isle of Wight so that together we can bring a little bit of heaven to those who need it on the island.’




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