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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

First Anna Chaplain for the Isle of Wight

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

New Anna Chaplain, Anne Powell

A warm welcome to Anne Powell who was commissioned as Anna Chaplain on the Isle of Wight at a service at All Saints Church, Freshwater on Sunday, (October 10, 2021). Anne is Anna Chaplain for the West Wight Mission Community. In her own words she introduced herself in her local newsletter:

'Firstly some background to my journey which has been rather like a jigsaw! I retired in 2006 and up until then had always been a committee person, PCC, Deanery Synod and heavily involved with Churches Together in West Wight. One night whilst trying to fall asleep after a rather frustrating meeting, I received what some call a “God prod” telling me that I should be looking to follow another route. That was just the kickstart I needed!

I had already shown an interest in the Acorn Christian Listening courses which at that time were being offered at Carisbrooke Priory and completed both “learning to listen” and the “called to listen” courses. Brian and Barbara Wilson were looking for someone else to take over pastoral visiting within All Saints parish following their many years of sterling service, so I put myself forward, that was my first step and the first piece of the jigsaw!

The second piece: Chris and Eva Murphy were retiring from running the Traidcraft shop and it was felt strongly within Churches Together that we should continue to have a Traidcraft presence locally. With great support from Revd Glenn Ford, at that time the local Methodist minister, four of us set up Oasis in the old Wesley Hall as a “drop in” on Monday mornings, together with a Traidcraft stall. It is wonderful that Oasis continues to operate and grow from strength to strength, now in the far more comfortable surroundings of the Freshwater Methodist Church.

The third piece of the jigsaw was when I replied to an advertisement from the Revd Gregory Clifton Smith, Senior Chaplain at St Mary's Hospital, who was looking for volunteers to become Chaplaincy Ward Visitors. I was given very thorough training before I was allowed on the wards! It was interesting how similar in certain areas this training was to the Anna Chaplaincy training course I undertook earlier this year. It was a privilege to serve under three different chaplains during my twelve years at St Mary's, learning something from each of them.

It was during this time that I started to feel a calling to the ministry of becoming an Anna Chaplain. Following some very supportive and encouraging conversations with Revd Leisa, and approval from the PCC in February, I enrolled for the Anna Chaplaincy online training course held in March and April. This was a very interesting programme requiring several hours of preparation, research and homework for each of the six sessions. One of the early sessions was on “knowing your patch” – you could say that having lived in Freshwater Bay for 52 years, I would know the “patch” pretty well but I need to get to know it a little better!

I have spent the past six weeks or so visiting several of the local groups – meeting folk, making contacts and getting to know those running the groups and those who come along. To date, I have visited Oasis, Our Place, the Reminiscence Group, The “Singabout“ run by Independent Arts and the Alzheimer's Cafe. I have been made most welcome wherever I have been and have been very impressed by the level of commitment and support by those doing all the hard work. There is a clear need for these groups amongst the community in West Wight, there are a good number of folk who attend at least three groups weekly. Thank you to all of you who turn up every week so that the groups can go ahead. I have also made contact with several organisations involved with our community, more news on that in the next FYT parishes magazine.

In the meantime, despite Christmas still being a few months away, I thought the knitters amongst you might be interested in knitting some Christmas angels or holding crosses so that we can give them to our many elderly folk at Christmas, the patterns are available within the magazine or by contacting me.

If you would like more information please look at the Anna Chaplaincy website.

Please hold me in your prayers as I move to develop my ministry.

Thank you! Anne'




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