Fresh from her commissioning service at the weekend, we asked Kate Powell to describe her journey towards Anna Chaplaincy and her hopes for her work in Alton, Hampshire:
‘Having been brought up in a Christian home, my faith was really cemented when I became engaged and joined an evangelical church with my husband in Wimbledon and then in Winchester, where we served in various ways.
‘One of the roles I took on was to help run the woman’s Bible study group every Monday morning. As part of this, we organised a volunteer day asking people to speak about different volunteering roles they play in community. One of the speakers was a hospital chaplain and I felt prompted by God that this was something I should do. Up until this point, I had been quite private about my faith so it felt like a big step but the prompting was too strong to ignore.
‘Following an interview and training, I became a volunteer hospital chaplain at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in 2018 and loved every minute. Often the situations I faced were emotionally challenging but it was an absolute privilege to be able to walk alongside people in their pain. I learned to lean heavily on the Holy Spirit to guide me during these encounters with patients and their families.
‘Over lockdown, I completed a postgraduate certificate in chaplaincy at Waverley Abbey, Farnham. I loved this course and it gave me a deeper understanding of chaplaincy. I finished the course in December 2021 and then, in January 2022, I fortuitously came across an advert for the Anna Chaplain role in Alton. It felt so God-given. I saw the advert the day before the closing date and the job description brought together all the different aspects of my working and voluntary career, such as working in the marketing team at Anchor Trust and the fundraising department at Age Concern (now Age UK).
‘While I felt nervous at the interview, I trusted that this was the job for me and was so honoured when I was offered the role. I have now been in post for nearly two months and am thoroughly enjoying journeying with older people in Alton as they face both the joys and challenges of their later years.
‘It is an exciting position to hold as the Anna Chaplaincy movement began in Alton and, as the fourth Anna Chaplain here, I am aware I have big boots to fill! With God’s help, I hope I can do it justice.’