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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Lincoln Diocese appoints Anna Chaplain

Helen Marsden

Warm congratulations to Helen Marsden, who has been commissioned as the first Anna Chaplain in the diocese of Lincoln, to the deanery of Louthesk.

The bishop of Grimsby, Right Revd Dr David Court, was taking a Confirmation service, at the beautiful St James' Church, Louth on June 12, confirming five young people as they took their next step in faith. As part of this service, Bishop David was delighted to commission Helen to the role of Anna Chaplain, blessing the next step in her journey of faith.

Reader and Anna Chaplain Helen Marsden with Right Revd Dr David Court, bishop of Grimsby.

Sarah Spencer, the diocese's discipleship in the world officer, said that as an Anna Chaplain, 'Helen will be attending to the spiritual well-being of men and women in later life. As churches and communities engage with the challenges and joys of ageing, Anna Chaplaincy offers a tried-and-tested way of supporting people in older age, whether they would describe themselves as people of faith or not. As an Anna Chaplain, Helen will be working with the residents, staff and families of care homes in the area of Louth.'

Helen started visiting local care homes to lead community singing: 'I think the residents sang to drown me out!' she said. 'This grew into taking monthly services, wandering around for a chat and being an extra pair of hands at outings or coffee mornings. We had been trying to make what we offer older people the best that we could. Then Covid-19 hit! I kept in touch by phone but I missed the residents terribly; I gained so much energy from being with them.'

Helen became aware of other readers, authorised lay ministers and self-supporting ministers across the diocese of Lincoln who had been exploring Anna Chaplaincy. She spoke to both her incumbent and the incumbent of Louth. It was felt that she was well suited to this ministry and it affirmed her decision to train for Anna Chaplaincy, specialising in looking after the residents, staff and families in care homes.

'As soon as the Anna Chaplaincy head licence agreement had been signed by the diocesan secretary, I attended BRF's excellent six-session Anna Chaplaincy course at only a week's notice. At the same time, care homes in the deanery were beginning to open up and I am back and able to visit some of them. It’s wonderful to be back doing what I feel called by God to do,' said Helen.

We wish Helen well in her ministry. As for Alex Burn (Anna Chaplaincy coordinator) and me (writes Debbie Thrower) it is especially gratifying to see the diocese take this step. We both held an event in Lincoln back in 2015, and it is so good to see that work beginning to bear fruit.

If you would like to know more about Anna Chaplaincy in the diocese of Lincoln, specifically, do email:




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