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  • Debbie Ducille

No longer able to ignore the ‘still small voice’!

On the second Sunday of Advent (10 December), a new Anna Chaplain was commissioned to a picturesque area of rural Kent near Ashford in Canterbury Diocese. Ann Tiplady will serve in the benefice of Bethersden, with High Halden and Woodchurch. Julia Burton-Jones, Anna Chaplaincy lead for Kent (and training and development lead for Anna Chaplaincy at BRF Ministries) spoke at the service and presented Ann to be commissioned. She explained that Ann had recently completed the online Anna Chaplaincy course and was looking forward to developing a new ministry alongside older people in the benefice.

Former roles as a social worker with children and, more recently as a diocesan safeguarding trainer, have equipped Ann for her Anna ministry supporting individuals in the local community. Ann explained that the villages in the benefice have a thriving community life, with many organisations active in the area. She sees a gap, however, in support and friendship for those living with dementia and their carers. She would like to offer opportunities for them to gather regularly and will explore options for establishing small groups, perhaps meeting in the village halls.

Ann reflected after the service:

‘I have been a practising Anglican, on and off, for all my life. Having been brought up to say my prayers every night and learning that God was in his heaven and would be looking down to make sure I was being good. My boys were brought up in the Anglican faith and were all confirmed in their teens. I cannot count how many times I have ignored God’s calling to ministry. Every time I got that “still small voice” asking me to take on a role I considered I was not ready for, I ignored it. Life, work and family took over until I retired and could devote more time to church business. About 18 months ago, I had the calling that I could not ignore. I gave up other roles in the church to train as an Anna Chaplain. I will now spend the rest of my life in the service of those older people who need support, kindness and love. I know that with God’s help I can make a difference.’

Friends in the congregation welcomed Ann becoming their Anna Chaplain, able to reach out to older people in the area on behalf of the three churches. In conversation with Julia, several said how well suited she is to this ministry, being a wonderful listener, and a lovely person. They could not imagine a better candidate for the role.

Ann’s rector, Revd Sue Rose said after the commissioning:

‘It has been wonderful to see how Ann has followed God’s call to train as an Anna Chaplain. She has a wealth of experience in pastoral ministry and lay leadership in the church, and has great gifts to bring to this new ministry in our benefice. I am looking forward to serving alongside Ann as we discern how best to support those in our villages with memory problems and those who care for them, and also those who are bereaved. I am praying that others will feel called to support this new ministry as we reach out to those who are struggling.’


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