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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Lunch in Westminster with Lord Griffiths

Updated: May 23, 2022

Debbie Thrower, Lord Griffiths and Eileen Simmons

What a wonderful opportunity to meet Lord Leslie Griffiths, Baron Griffiths of Burry Port, at the House of Lords yesterday (writes Debbie Thrower) with his long-standing friend, the Anna Chaplain in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, Eileen Simmons.

Eileen and her family have known the senior politician and Methodist minister since he became superintendent minister in the 1990s at Wesley's Chapel, City Road, London, where they used to worship. Over lunch at the House of Lords Eileen and I were able to tell Leslie and his wife, Lady Margaret, more about Anna Chaplaincy.

Also around the table were Eileen's husband, Geoff Nash, and a long-time friend of both couples, Revd Jennifer Potter, who is MHA Chaplain at Hall Grange Methodist Home in Croydon, Surrey.

Lord Griffiths, who served as president of the Methodist Conference from 1994 to 1995, heard more about the origins of Anna Chaplaincy in 2010 which lay in a covenant-signing between Methodists and Anglicans in Alton, Hampshire, in order to collaborate more closely in various areas of ministry including work with older people.

A member of the Labour Party, Lord Griffiths was an opposition spokesperson and whip in the House of Lords from 2017 to 2020. It's hoped that in time Anna Chaplaincy will form a small group of influential peers and MPs who can advise and be informal 'ambassadors' for our work seeking to develop Anna Chaplaincy more widely, as we help raise the standards of good practice in offering spiritual care to all people in their later years – irrespective of whether they have a strong faith or none at all.

Pioneer of Anna Chaplaincy Debbie Thrower with Leigh-on-Sea Anna Chaplain Eileen Simmons

Our sincere thanks to Eileen and Geoff for arranging such a friendly occasion and enabling us to unpack more of the story of Anna Chaplaincy to those who frequent the corridors of power!




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