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New Bishop of Winchester highlights Anna Chaplaincy

Bishop Philip Mounstephen and his wife Ruth with the Mayor of Winchester, the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire and the Dean of Winchester outside the cathedral after the service (Photo credits: Diocese of Winchester)

The Right Revd Philip Mounstephen was installed as the 98th Bishop of Winchester this weekend at a packed cathedral 'Welcome Service' in the city. In his address Bishop Philip spoke of 'heritage, healing and hope'.

Original pioneer of Anna Chaplaincy, and Canon Emeritus of Winchester Cathedral, Debbie Thrower was there to join in the service of welcome and described it as 'a really joyous occasion.'

She said, 'formerly the Bishop of Truro, Bishop Philip described what a privilege it was to take up his post, posing the question: 'Where would the world be without the Diocese of Winchester?' He alluded to Winchester as the ancient capital of England, of Winchester's place in the annals of history, pointing to the mortuary chests in the Quire holding the ('jumbled') bones of former kings. He also referred to the writer Jane Austen who lived in the city in her final days and the cameras showed her memorial stone where she is buried in the cathedral.

Then, Bishop Philip declared that Jane Austen was 'just one of many amazing women who can fairly claim to have changed the world for the better.' He said:

'So think too of the founding in this diocese of the world's largest women's organisation, the Mothers' Union, or Anna Chaplaincy founded far more recently here in Alton, or of the inspiration that the tomb of the Hampshire Grenadier provided for the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, an organisation that has brought such hope to so many across the world.'

'He went on to speak' said Debbie, 'of the need for healing in the diocese following the departure of the former Bishop of Winchester, the Right Revd Dr Timothy Dakin and the vacancy. He also told of his hopes for education, schools and chaplaincies, for example, in terms of building on the 'legacy of the past' to improve the lives of people today.'

Later in the service, Bishop Philip asked the congregation to pray for him that his own 'high hopes' should be maintained.

Canon Dr Erica Roberts, Anna Chaplaincy network member

Anna Chaplaincy Network member Canon Dr Erica Roberts, who heads the Southampton team of Anna Chaplains, took part in the main cathedral procession. It was a day for meeting many friends and colleagues; also attending was former Hampshire Anna Chaplain (at Bentley, Binstead and Froyle), the Revd Nicky Smallwood, who is now children's hospice chaplain locally- at Naomi House and Jack's Place.

The whole service was live streamed. You may watch it on the Winchester Cathedral Channel. The references to Jane Austen, the MU, AA, and indeed Anna Chaplaincy, in Bishop Philip's address come at around 2. 12. 28 onwards, in the recording.

Debbie Ducille, Anna Chaplaincy ministry lead

This week Debbie Ducille, Anna Chaplaincy ministry lead, is giving two workshops at the Winchester Diocesan Conference taking place at High Leigh, Hertfordshire, at the diocese's invitation.



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