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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

First Anna Chaplain for Oxfordshire

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

We're delighted that on Thursday 13 August 2020, Gill Thompson was commissioned as an Anna Chaplain in the Ridgeway Benefice in Oxfordshire by the Bishop of Dorchester, the Right Revd Colin Fletcher OBE.

Gill reports that it was 'a small gathering at the parish church in the village of Sparsholt due to the pandemic, but "big" on prayer as many family and friends from around the world were praying for me. An exciting start to Anna Chaplaincy in the Ridgeway Benefice, Wantage Deanery and Oxford Diocese.'

Bishop Colin, who is also the Chairman of the trustees of BRF, has known Gill for many years, so it was highly appropriate he should conduct her commissioning.

Gill explained a little more of her story: 'I have recently retired from many years of teaching mathematics and am now excited to be serving the local benefice as an Anna Chaplain. I am married to Paul and between us we have five children, all grown and left home.

'In the past I have worked as an Activities Manager in a Retirement Village and have trained as a Lay Pastoral Minister within the Church of England, both roles have helped me prepare for this new ministry.

'In addition, I have completed the Certificate in Ministry among Older People at Cliff College and have also undertaken Authorised Funeral Ministry training. I have been drawn to working in this area because I feel that it is such a privilege to walk alongside people as they navigate the older years. Hearing their stories, assisting them in expressing their feelings to families and to deepen their faith in God.'

We wish Gill well in this new chapter of her ministry and are delighted that she will be working close to where the Revd Keith Underhill, who helped found Anna Chaplaincy (and used to line manage Anna Chaplains in Alton where the chaplaincy began), is now the Methodist minister and Circuit Superintendent in Wantage, Grove and Childrey.

Keith Underhill and Debbie Thrower at his church in Wantage 2015



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