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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Celebrating further developments in Cumbria

Brenda Gear, Cumbria's latest Anna Chaplain

'Loving people where they are'

On Sunday October 31, 2021, Brenda Gear was commissioned as Anna Chaplain for Upperby and Harraby, part of the South Carlisle Mission Community.

At a Mission Community joint service attended by representatives from all churches, Brenda was commissioned by the Revd Richard Goodfellow, priest in charge at Upperby and Harraby.

The Revd Alun Jones, priest in charge at Currock, spoke about the need for someone to love people where they are, and how Brenda’s gifts of generosity of heart and warmth will enable her to take light and love to those around her. He also encouraged the community to see Brenda as a pioneer in the community developing this ministry with people in later life along with others in the church communities. Revd David Newlove, superintendent for the North Cumbria Methodist Circuit, led the prayers.

Revd Richard Goodfellow, Revd Alun Jones, Brenda Gear, and Revd David Newlove at Brenda’s commissioning service

Brenda introduces herself and describes her call to Anna Chaplaincy:

'Wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, which of those is most important? A hard question to answer as all have meant facing different difficulties through time, but there has also been one constant: the love of God… being a person of faith, which drew me over 27 years ago to train to be licensed as a reader in our local church where I served for 25 years, before moving to a new parish, here at St. John the Baptist, Upperby.

When moving, I was going to take a back seat, but God had other ideas. In the last three years, I have felt a call to walk alongside the housebound and older people, and those who are suffering from increasing health problems, although this did start when caring for parents.

This became a deeper call when we were hit with the pandemic when we could no longer meet in church and where so many people saw no one from one week to the next. I found it a great privilege to be able to knock on doors, stand on the path and just be there for people, walking with them, and mostly to be a listening ear and a presence.

We are in a time of change. There are many people who are now afraid to come out of their homes and need to be listened to more than ever; to be able to ask questions and prayerfully find answers.

As I take up my role as an Anna Chaplain I know God will walk beside me, as I pray that I may walk alongside those who need someone to walk with them… through the next stage of their lives.'


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