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  • Debbie Ducille

Commissioning in Yorkshire

On 14 January, Christine Larson was commissioned as Anna Chaplain for Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, at Beverley Baptist Church, by Revd Chaplain Tracy Green.


Revd Tracy Green (community chaplain), Christine Larson, Revd Tom Kirk and Steph Tongeman (church leader).

Revd Tracy Green incorporated Christine’s testimony and commissioning within the church’s Sunday morning worship, and Louise McPhee and John Edmond from Beverley Minster and St Mary’s Church, respectively, joined in the service too. The church is currently preaching on the Lord’s Prayer and the commissioning was sensitively woven into a service that was appropriately about ‘Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done’ and how we are called to demonstrate God’s kingdom on earth in our hearts, by how we live, and how we demonstrate our faith.


Christine described how at the beginning of one of the lockdowns in 2021, as one of the trustees of Melton Mowbray Baptist Church, she had kept in touch with several older members of the congregation. Many spoke of feeling ignored and invisible, and that their opinion didn’t seem to count anymore. Some questioned their purpose and role in their church communities as they age and described missing the community and worshipping God together when they could no longer attend. Of course, lockdown exacerbated this but the feelings had been there before and continued after lockdown ended.


It was as a result of these conversations that Christine felt called to find out more about ‘spirituality in later life’ and her search led her to a wide number of people and organisations working with the older generation. One of these organisations was ‘Christians On Ageing’ and through them, she heard of Anna Chaplaincy, and immediately felt that this was something God was calling her to do. Christine completed her Anna Chaplaincy training in 2022, began pastoral visiting with a team of volunteers and held a monthly service in a local care home, and was due to be licensed in Melton Mowbray in January 2023. However, then something unexpected happened. She and her husband decided they should move from Melton Mowbray to live closer to their daughter and family in Beverley in early 2023.


Christine was uncertain whether Beverley would need an Anna Chaplain but she need not have feared, ‘God made the path straight’. She described the wonderful welcome she has received both from her own Baptist family and also from those from Beverley Minster and St Mary’s Church with whom she works to provide services to care homes in the town and thanked them all for such a warm welcome.


Going forward, Christine is looking forward to being more involved with the ‘senior’ activities the church is already involved in, growing a pastoral visiting team of Anna Friends and continuing with the outreach services into care homes in Beverley. Christine said:

‘My business career gave me many skills in coaching, listening and training which have been very transferable, but I was daunted that I had no experience of working with the elderly or a medical/caring background. Anna Chaplaincy has been an amazing help, providing both the training and the resources/books that have helped me learn. I’m also indebted to those Christians who have shared their knowledge and experience with me. As with other situations in my life, God showed me the way, I just needed to listen and follow.’

 



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