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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

New Anna Chaplain for Derbyshire - in White Peak and Youlgreave

New Anna Chaplain Sarah Lacey with her vicar, Revd Adele Barker

We're delighted to report that our latest Anna Chaplain to join the network - Sarah Lacey - was commissioned in Hartington, Derbyshire, on Sunday September 3, by her vicar, the Revd Adele Barker.

When we asked Sarah to introduce herself in her own words, she began with, 'Proverbs 15: verse 15b - "For the happy heart, life is a continual feast," - or so it seems to me.'

And she goes on:

'I was commissioned yesterday in my beautiful village church of St Giles by our parish priest, the Revd Adele Barker. The sun shone through our stained glass windows, dust motes danced among us and I was filled with a quiet sense of deeply fulfilling spiritual joy and purpose - the waiting was over - a new page was about to be turned, because I'm on the cusp of a fresh Godly adventure, I was about to become an Anna Chaplain to the White Peak and Youlgreave Group.

A wonderful number of lovely people arrived to share in this very special day, including one of my sons, Rupert and his wife Sarah, and unexpectedly, my daughter Ailsa, who sang 'Amazing Grace,' just after so many people had come forward to lay their hands upon me, giving me their blessing for this wonderful new opportunity, a happy heart indeed.

I have always enjoyed sharing my time with older people, I spent much of my childhood at Tuckton Bridge in Dorset with my grandfather and his sister A.A. as my family called her, two wise, wonderful and loving Christian people. I learnt much from them, (but also ignored rather a lot too!) One thing I did learn, was that even though they were old they had lived a full life, and that life overflowed with interesting things, they were well worth listening to and it was always worth making time to hear their story. They, and the voluntary work that I did, helping to care for sick and dying older people whilst still at boarding school in the 60's, shaped me to be what I have gladly become today, an Anna Chaplain.

Lots has happened between then and now, not least playing 'dodge ball' with God as He called and I ignored. All that changed in 1982, when I found I couldn't ignore His voice any longer, and I will remain ever grateful for His persistence.

For the last 20 odd years I have been living in the beautiful village of Hartington, in the White Peak district, worshipping at St Giles, and helping serve our local rural farming communities along with lots of other people.

Our church family has grown, which is such a joy, and on the arrival last year of our new parish priest, Revd Adele, and the decision for our benefice of six churches to begin working alongside another benefice of four churches, I started feeling gentle nudges to look about and see where I could be best put to God's good use - 'Have you heard of Anna Chaplaincy,'? asked Revd Adele. ' No,' I replied, - but I have now!

I completed the excellent training in May, and I have also been learning about dementia, which I am finding both helpful and very interesting. I am shortly planning on doing a survey of all our churches to see how/if we can make them more friendly and welcoming to people living with dementia and their families. Plus I understand our diocesan disability group will be getting in touch, perhaps we can share/pool our knowledge?

I have also been dreaming about a beautifully-adapted mini bus, with wheelchair access....!! I am so grateful for all the love, support and prayerful hope that has come to nourish me as I start out as Anna Chaplain to the White Peak and Youlgreave Group, l shall make sure to take it with me as I go out and about.'

'We wish Sarah every success in her ministry and in fulfilling those dreams!', writes Pioneer of Anna Chaplaincy, Debbie Thrower.




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