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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Bikers’ Chaplain turns Anna Chaplain!

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Revd Philip Head who learnt to ride a motorbike in his 60s and became a Bikers’ Chaplain has turned another page in the story of his chaplaincy career. He was commissioned as an Anna Chaplain in Liskeard, Cornwall, on Sunday 4 June. Here is Philip’s ‘Journey to chaplaincy’

in his own words:

‘My name is Philip Head. I am 72 years of age and live in Liskeard in East Cornwall, although my church is in the nearby village of St Cleer on the edge of Caradon Hill. It is Cleerway Community Church, and there I was commissioned as an Anna Chaplain during our Sunday service this morning, 4 June 2023.

‘My journey to chaplaincy started in January 2016 when I was one month short of my 65th birthday. I felt this yearning in my heart, as my wife and I were sat up in bed enjoying an early morning cup o’ tea, and I turned to her and declared, “I’m going to learn to ride a motorcycle!”

Revd Philip Head and his wife Diana

‘Looking back, I can clearly see God’s hand in this. By lunchtime on that Tuesday, I had secured a theory test appointment for Friday the same week by grabbing a cancellation – at the time there was a three-month waiting list; I booked a Direct Access motorcycle training course to start the following Monday. On that Monday, I undertook the CBT training on a 125-cc school bike; on the Tuesday morning, they put me on a 500-cc bike and after lunch, they put me on a 600-cc bike. I took my MOD 1 test on my 65th birthday on 2 February and the MOD 2 test the following week on 9 February. In a very short time, I had gone from inspired to qualified.

‘I was already studying for ministry, initially with Assemblies of God/Elim and subsequently with the Christian Leaders Institute. I was formally ordained as a minister and commissioned as Chaplain to the Motorcycle Community in 2020.

‘For the last three years, I have been holding a chaplaincy surgery once a week, have been leading Bikers’ services and have been available to any and all bikers who have needed a listening ear. The joy of that ministry is that it is a lifestyle – being where I would be anyway and in the company of those I would be in the company of anyway. The difficulty is that it could be quite insular and lonely, often being a solo Christian presence in a community that has very deep-seated roots and traditions.

‘As the years roll by, my body sometimes tells me a new season demands a new focus. I learned about Anna Chaplaincy. As Anna Chaplaincy provides support, training, encouragement, branding and national recognition in the local setting and has a clear “family” flavour about it, I felt the call to explore this ministry, which is undoubtedly more akin to my time of life, and which provides obvious opportunities of getting the church out of the building and into the community.’

‘Sometimes it is time to move on, and I can clearly see how God can use a willing heart in this, rather elderly, community in Cornwall. There is so much loneliness in many elderly people; there is such a need for a listening ear and many who have Christian roots are no longer able to attend church services, have fellowship or share in the Lord’s Supper, and so on.’

‘I pray that my commissioning would encourage my home church to pray that the Lord may open doors for “the church” to be taken to the elderly in this place and that the living God may have his way in the hearts and lives of those he has allowed Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends to be privileged to minister to.’



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