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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Meet a village Anna Chaplain busy in church, community and care homes

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

Congratulations to Karen Markiewicz who was commissioned as a paid, part-time, Anna Chaplain in the Hampshire village of Littleton recently. Revd Jax Machin conducted the service on Sunday 27 November at St Catherine’s Church Littleton, near Winchester. The day coincided with the church’s patronal festival, celebrating the life of St Catherine of Alexandria who was martyred at just 18 years old.

It was a busy service – the first Sunday of Advent – as well as Karen’s commissioning service. Revd Jax talked about the darkness of early winter contrasting with the brightness of the late autumn leaves and reflected on how we can reflect the brightness of Christ even in dark times.

Parochial church council member Carol Coleman, Karen Markiewicz, Revd Jax Machin Carol Ward, Karen’s line manager who is also on the PCC.

‘The service was followed by a wonderful bring and share lunch in the church community room where many conversations were had over some delicious items of food’, said Karen.

She continued: ‘It is such an honour to be an Anna Chaplain. From 1990, my husband and I worked with a missionary organisation in England, Kazakhstan and America for over ten years. Afterwards, whilst raising a family, I worked supporting secondary school pupils with additional needs, particularly those with emotional and literacy requirements. Once my two sons had left home, I started to look at what I could offer missionally in my local community, and what training was available.

‘My journey into chaplaincy began about three years ago when I became a volunteer chaplain with Winchester City Centre Chaplaincy. Visiting people in their place of work to offer a listening ear and support showed me the incredible service that chaplains offer their community. This led to me being appointed as the lead chaplain, where I trained and recruited new chaplains and grew the ministry of chaplaincy in Winchester.

‘Whilst I became a chaplain, I began a part-time master’s degree in spiritual formation at Waverley Abbey College. Study modules included chaplaincy, pastoral care, spiritual direction and coaching and mentoring. I am now in my final (dissertation) year. I am also a part-time learning facilitator for the Contemporary Chaplaincy Certificate programme at Waverley Abbey College. My life is very much all about chaplaincy, which I love.

‘A friend of mine was an Anna Chaplain, and her experiences and stories inspired me to look at what God might be saying to me regarding my chaplaincy ministry. When the role being offered through St Catherine’s Church, Littleton, became available I felt that this role fitted perfectly with my calling, experience and skills.

‘My work in Littleton started in September and I have been warmly welcomed by the church and feel part of a wonderfully supportive team. I am focused on supporting older people in the church, the community and care homes. I currently meet regularly with other Anna Chaplains in my area which is a great source of advice and support to me as I develop my Anna Chaplain ministry.’




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