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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Baptist minister in mid-Wales becomes an Anna Chaplain

Congratulations to the Baptist minister of three churches in Newtown, Powys, Revd Maggie Rich, who has been commissioned as Anna Chaplain in the town.

The service on Sunday (15 May) was led by Revd Rob Saunders, Baptist minister from Welshpool. The commissioning was conducted by superintendent Revd Andrew Wyton. Sam Jones from the Salvation Army offered a prayer of blessing, while our own Anna Chaplaincy lead in Wales, Revd Sally Rees, preached. Maggie's career has embraced missionary work abroad and at key times has also involved working with many older people.

'Towards Anna Chaplaincy' – Maggie Rich explains in her own words:

Revd Maggie Rich, Anna Chaplain in Newtown, mid-Wales

'This has been an interesting journey which began a long time ago. I have always had a heart for the vulnerable, which led to being a special needs teacher in a multidisciplinary setting.

'My call to ministry came and initially, I was very doubtful as to whether I had heard it right. At that time, I went with a BMS World Mission team to southern Italy to do street mission, and on that team was an elderly lady who had been a BMS missionary in China, Angola and the Congo, DRC. She helped me to understand the "unconditional get up and go" and was an incredible support during my ministry training.

'In my student placement churches and in subsequent pastorates I soon found that I was drawn to working with the older people in the congregations. Then came an invitation to join a Welsh mission team to Paraguay. I already knew that I was being called to go somewhere, but fully expected India or Thailand where there was work with children with profound and multiple learning difficulties – an area I was qualified to work in. Not so. It was about supporting ministers in Paraguay who were discovering that they had older people in their congregations.

'During a. three-year a pastorate in Yorkshire, I was privileged to work alongside a team supporting people living with dementia and their carers. I learned a lot there and eventually became a Dementia Friends champion.'

'Coming back to Wales I was able to use what I had learned to start a dementia group in one of the villages. I knew nothing about Anna Chaplaincy but as soon as I read about it in a Cytun, Churches Together in Wales, newsletter I knew that was what I was called to do next.'

'The training has been a delight and each stage has confirmed the calling – and during a recent conversation with our local community connector, she confirmed that this was what they had been waiting for as well!'

From the left, bottom row: Revd Jeanette Wilkes (St Michael’s Church, Kerry), territorial envoy Samantha Jones (Salvation Army officer), Revd Maggie Rich (Anna Chaplain), Revd Sally Rees (Anna Chaplaincy lead for Wales). Top row: Revd Rob Saunders (Welshpool Baptist Church) and Revd Andrew Wyton (superintendent for the Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire Baptist Association). Photo credit: Kerry, aged 12.



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