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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

First Anna Chaplain for Winchester!

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

Helen Jesty, Erica Roberts, Pamela Gilbert, and Debbie Thrower at Winchester's United Church after the service

Supporters were out in force to mark the commissioning of Pamela Gilbert as the first Anna Chaplain for Winchester, Hampshire.

Pioneer of Anna Chaplaincy, Debbie Thrower, was joined by former Anna Chaplain in Alton, the Revd Helen Jesty, and fellow long-standing member of the national network, the City Chaplain for Older People in Southampton, Canon Dr Erica Roberts.

Pamela spoke to a socially distanced congregation in the building (while others were receiving it live-streamed at home) of her sense of calling to this ministry. On retiring, she moved to Winchester in 2004, and joined The United Church, in Jewry Street, Winchester. 'At that time I was in the middle of studying to be a Methodist Local Preacher. My accreditation service, happened in 2006, after completing all the modules required,' she said.

'Since then, I joined part-time the "Live at Home Scheme", which is part of the charity Methodist Homes for the Aged, MHA. I carried on working there as assistant manager, visiting older people at home, helping them to join our many activities. We also took our members on outings and an annual holiday.' Pamela relinquished that post in 2013.

'My preaching appointments have continued, with the addition of pastoral visiting, and the giving of Holy Communion, to the house bound. I am looking forward to walking a new path, that our Lord has called me to as an Anna Chaplain,' she declared.

In her address, Debbie described Anna Chaplaincy as 'a Hampshire success story': 'Anna Chaplaincy is a timely response to this new phenomenon of more people over the age of 60 than there are under 18. It is for people of strong, little or no faith at all.'

Pamela Gilbert

Pamela has several Anna Chaplain colleagues nearby, based in St Mary’s, Kings Worthy and St Swithun’s, Headbourne Worthy, two connected Church of England parishes just 1½ miles north of Winchester.

You may watch the commissioning service, led by minister, the Revd Tim Searle, on Sunday morning 30 May 30 by clicking here.



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