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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

It’s all happening in Kent… we report on several events

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

Jayne Edinboro, Anna Chaplain, on the far right, Jayne’s mother in her wheelchair, and Anna Friends Marian on the left, next to Pat (and Pat’s husband).

News on the training and commissioning of Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends in Canterbury Diocese in 2023:

The Anna Chaplaincy team in Canterbury Diocese continues to grow, reports Anna Chaplaincy lead for the diocese, Julia Burton-Jones.

Six new members joined in three services in May and June. Linda Young, Pat Holland and Marian Johnson were commissioned as Anna Friends with Whitstable Team Ministry at an Ascension Day service on 18 May to work alongside Anna Chaplain Jayne Edinboro.

Loraine Bant was commissioned by Revd Mark Ham as All Saints Birchington’s first Anna Chaplain at a Pentecost service on 28 May.

Meanwhile, Anna Chaplain Amanda Madgwick and Anna Friend Frances Barnes joined the team at St Laurence in Ramsgate to work alongside Anna Chaplain Judith Andrews on Trinity Sunday (4 June).

Anna Chaplain Amanda Madgwick on the left at St Laurence, Ramsgate, and Anna Friend Frances Barnes, far right. The first Anna Chaplain in the parish, Judith Andrews (in her reader robes) preached at the service. Also pictured is the Revd Ken Cox.

There are now 20 Anna Chaplains in Canterbury Diocese and 11 Anna Friends.

Judith Andrews was the first to be commissioned in September 2019. She serves on the diocesan working group for Anna Chaplaincy and was pleased to preach at the services in Birchington and Ramsgate; several who heard Judith speak were moved to express interest in joining the team after hearing her impassioned plea for support to the growing opportunities in this part of Kent.

Judith and Frances have been warmly welcomed at Chartwell House, a newly-opened care home in Broadstairs where staff and residents welcome the contribution of Anna Chaplaincy to the well-being of residents.

Judith worked with Julia to pilot a new training course for Anna Friends in Thanet. Delivered in late 2022, it was attended by Frances, Pat, Marian and Linda. The group gave feedback on the course before it was developed as a BRF pack for Anna Chaplains to train their teams.

In feedback after the Thanet pilot, learners described the Anna Friends’ course as ‘useful’, ‘comprehensive’, ‘enlightening’, ‘encouraging’, ‘stimulating’, ‘strengthening’, ‘thought-provoking’, ‘inspiring’ and ‘friendly’. The course was recently also piloted in Exeter Diocese and will form part of the regular training for Anna Friends in Devon and Kent.

The team in Canterbury Diocese met on Zoom on 13 June to share their experiences alongside older people in East Kent and help one another reflect on their ministry encounters – both the encouragements and the challenges.

New Anna Chaplain Loraine from Birchington shared how she recently began hosting ‘Singing for Well-being’ and is planning to take her intergenerational group (drawn from the church and the primary school where she is chair of governors) into a local care home.

The growing team in Deal talked about the links they are developing in the town with other organisations in offering ‘Warm Wednesdays’ which have grown each week; they also take craft activities, quizzes and singalong sessions into local care homes and sheltered housing.

Several Anna Chaplains in Kent describe the great pressure faced by care homes in the current climate. Anna Chaplaincy seeks to care for staff and relatives supporting older people, many of whom are living with stress and uncertainty. Reflecting on the networking across churches that Anna Chaplaincy has enabled, Julia is impressed by the mutual concern and shared learning that is a hallmark of gatherings for the team, whether in person or online.




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