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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Kent Anna Chaplains explore resilience at get-together

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

Adrian Bawtree, director of music at Rochester Cathedral at the Kent get-together

Thirty-two Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends gathered from across the dioceses of Rochester and Canterbury for their first annual get-together on Thursday 15 September. It was organised by Julia Burton-Jones, who is the Anna Chaplaincy lead for Kent and the training and development lead for Anna Chaplaincy at BRF. Most had only met online, so everyone relished the opportunity to get to know one another in person. There was much chatter during breaks!

The focus of the event was personal resilience and well-being. The keynote speaker was Joanna Young from Wildgeese Leadership. A former senior police officer, her training centres around helping participants recognise when they are stressed and find ways to bounce back from pressure. Joanna encouraged everyone to identify factors that contribute to ‘getting out of shape’; commonly mentioned were sleep problems and tiredness. She shared the damaging consequences for our health of not attending to resilience and what we can do to stay well, including moving often, eating well and singing. Can we ask God to hold the things we are worried about? How might we cultivate PQ (positive intelligence) by learning from hard times? We need to make choices for ourselves and avoid the danger of slipping into martyrdom or passive victim mode.

She also spoke about the internal voice through which we judge ourselves and others, and said that God did not create us to judge. To help each person hear their inner voice better, she asked the group to complete a questionnaire on working styles, based on transactional analysis. From this, it was possible to see which voices you were most likely to be hearing:

  • Be perfect

  • Hurry up

  • Please people

  • Be strong

  • Try hard

The get-together was hosted by the Anglican churches of South Gillingham and St Matthew’s Church and provided a welcoming space. Anna Chaplain, Jennie Spalding and Anna Friend, Maureen Cannon from South Gillingham, were interviewed by Julia about their ministry which includes: holding monthly Messy Vintage services; holding Sunday services at the care home alongside the church; visiting older people at home; organising a monthly carers coffee morning in partnership with an Admiral nurse; facilitating a course called The Bereavement Journey.

The afternoon workshop was led by Adrian Bawtree, director of music at Rochester Cathedral, who created the silver song music box when working for the charity Sing for Your Life. Adrian led a singing workshop to illustrate the simplicity and value of initiating community singing with older people. He purposefully sat with the group to start each song, rather than conducting. The sound of unison singing was powerful and demonstrated to Adrian that each person had the capacity to lead singing. Too often as children, we are told we cannot sing or lack rhythm, leaving us with lifelong needless confidence issues. In closing, Adrian showed how singing in basic rounds could be introduced. Those in the team involved in singing activities contributed to the discussion. Diana Pattison, Anna Chaplain in Bromley Common and archdeaconry lead for Anna Chaplaincy, had brought a song box to show any who might be interested in purchasing one.

A comment received afterwards summed up the response to the day:

‘Thank you for a wonderful gathering yesterday. It was good on so many levels. Lovely to see people, to chat and connect and encourage each other, but also to have two such excellent and stimulating sessions.’

There was agreement that the event would become an annual fixture!

Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends at St Matthew's church, Wigmore




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