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  • Debbie Ducille

New Anna Friends for Wivey and the Hills

Anna Chaplain, Hazel Ramsay, shares about the recent commissioning of three new Anna Friends.

Shafts of sparkling sunlight flooded the tiny church of St Luke’s over the heads of the waiting congregation of 20, listening to church organist and choirmaster Tom Morrell’s medley of classical pieces which included ‘Siciliana’ by Walden ending with ‘Jig Fugue’ by Buxtehude.

That morning, on Sunday 11 February, the long-awaited Anna Chaplaincy commissioning service for Anna Friends was conducted by Revd Mike Haslam (chaplain advisor acting mission development leader, Bath and Wells) and Revd Juliet Gosling-Brown (ordained distinctive deacon of St Andrews’s Parish Church, Wiveliscombe and Benefice). Named after the faithful widow, 84-year-old Anna, who appears with Simeon in Luke’s gospel, Anna Chaplaincy is a community-based network that supports older people and their carers, working across many denominations.

Anna Chaplains work in care homes, private homes, churches, hospitals, and community groups, and are there for people of strong, little or no faith. Male or female, lay or ordained, each works within their local church context with volunteers who work beside them known as ‘Anna Friends.’ The emphasis is on non-judgemental spiritual support in gentle, loving ways that bring comfort and healing, and help older people to live more peacefully in later years. We also encourage them to reflect on the joys and challenges of their life’s journey to foster hope and resilience, but remember that people’s practical struggles can also play a part in their overall well-being.

So it was with great joy that we welcomed our new Anna friends. Judith, for many years, was a carer and activities facilitator at Pulsford Lodge. Also, Jenny, a former nursery nurse and family support worker and coordinator, and last but not least, Stephen, known for his many years of sterling work as a first responder and service as a sides-person and altar attendant. Bless them all!

Our thanks to Revd Haslam, Revd Gosling-Brown, Tom Morrell and all at St Luke’s for their kind hospitality, not forgetting Brenda and Sherry who fed us chocolate biscuits with tea and coffee after the service!



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