Our thanks to Anna Chaplain Joan Grenfell in Jesmond, Newcastle, for sending us news of the way she celebrated Candlemas this year at one of her local care homes.
‘I was able to lead worship in Craghall Care Home yesterday,’ she said, ‘the first time in a long while, with nine residents present. I offered a service for Candlemas since they had missed it the previous week. A service of light seemed a most appropriate way back in. The residents were clearly moved by it as their tears demonstrated. I am looking forward to re-engaging with residents and staff in the coming weeks.
‘I will also soon be engaging with two other care homes in the parish, both of which have expressed an interest in offering Anna Chaplain ministry to their residents and staff, so I’m very excited about that!’
Candlemas is, of course, the season when we celebrate the story of Simeon and Anna from St Luke’s gospel. Anna was a long-time widow who had found a new way of living and was now 84 years of age and is an archetypal chaplain for us today! One can imagine her greeting the holy family and chatting to them in just the way an Anna Chaplain might do in similar circumstances. We are proud that the prophetess Anna has inspired Anna Chaplaincy and that each Candlemas we remember her story and that of the baby Jesus, the much longed-for Messiah – and as Simeon described him: ‘A light to lighten the Gentiles’ (Luke 2:32, KJV).