A warm welcome to the first Anna Chaplain for the Bath and Wells Diocese and for rural Somerset – Hazel Ramsay. She was commissioned at Candlemas in Wiveliscombe, just as another 34 Anna Chaplain colleagues were being commissioned, simultaneously, 366 miles away at another such service in Morpeth, Northumberland.
'Nothing is wasted'
I asked Hazel to tell us a little about what had led her to become a volunteer Anna Chaplain: 'It is very interesting to read how so many Anna Chaplains find the vocation of Anna Chaplaincy to be a culmination of their life experience in Christ and past ministries – so nothing is wasted! This is true of me also.
'I think my training and time in Samaritans, my volunteer work with a local Schizophrenia Fellowship, plus years of family caring and palliative caring have prepared me quite well. Long before my time as a pastoral visitor, I enjoyed the company of older people. My interest in their life histories and compassion for their general well-being grew, eventually leading to a three-year close involvement with a church member affected by dementia and her family in 2015. Coincidentally, her name was Anna!
'So I hope, with the help of BRF, I can now build on that blessed experience and my experiences since then, with the added benefit of additional training, professional support and a wonderful network of Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends growing throughout the UK. But underpinning absolutely everything is a necessary foundation of prayer and encouragement from Revd Martin Walker, our PCC and many others at St Andrew's Parish Church and Benefice, for which I am deeply grateful!'