Barrow-in-Furness team commissioned... at last!
A team consisting of an Anna Chaplain and seven Anna Friends has been commissioned in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Babs Lowes has been involved in the ministry for some while but the service at Spring Mount Church kept being delayed because of coronavirus restrictions. The Anna Friends who have joined the team are Janice Arthur, Carrol Story, Liz Ashcroft, Julie Jones, Lois Maguire, Sharon Abouzahrah and Julia Jackson.
Finally, on September 27, the service actually took place. Babs described what happened:
'It was the third time of scheduling this service, as the other two were postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions, but we finally made it! How amazing is our God.'
'However this time, there was not one lone Anna Chaplain, but there were seven Anna Friends, to join the Dementia Enablers and volunteers in Barrow churches. God had raised a team in these challenging times to bless the community of Barrow.'
'So, it was last October God began to raise this model of Anna Chaplaincy whereby the Anna Friends and myself are attached to all the churches in Barrow via the Barrow Anna Chaplaincy steering group of which Revd Martin Cooper, a Baptist minister is the chair. We will work together in the community, care home settings and in the hospital, as well as our own churches.'
Revd Martin Cooper said:
'The Commissioning was a blessed time; an opportunity to thank God for establishing this work during the pandemic and a chance to pray for and grasp a vision for the future.
The service was hosted by Pastor Jonny, at my spiritual home, Spring Mount Church and it was live-streamed.' You can watch the service back on YouTube (Babs' testimony is 38 minutes into the recording).
Babs said: 'It was a beautiful worship service. Jonny led the worship and did a Bible reflection from Philippians 4:4-7 relating this to always rejoicing in the Lord, no matter what, for He will be faithful to this Anna Chaplaincy. There were ministers there from thirteen different churches as well as guests. It was informative too, as Katherine Froggatt, Anna Chaplaincy Lead in Cumbria, gave a Cumbrian overview, and also the Revd Lucie Lunn talked about Anna Chaplaincy and how this ministry can encourage and support the excellent work of the churches in Barrow.'
Katherine Froggatt said: 'It was wonderful to be part of the richness of this ecumenical Commissioning Service with four denominations represented, reflecting the development of Anna Chaplaincy ministry across Barrow.'
Before the actual Commissioning itself, Babs enjoyed sharing with everyone some key moments in God’s calling to the role of Anna Chaplain. Her final words were these:
'I know God has been preparing me for this role all my life, even before I knew Him. Nothing is ever wasted in life; He uses everything. I’m glad I stand here tonight and am obedient and say as Samuel did “Here I am Lord…send me.'