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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Salvation Army’s first Anna Chaplain!

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

New Anna Chaplain Lynne Sillence (third from left), with Canon Dr Erica Roberts who commissioned her last month, the Salvation Army’s assistant director of older people’s services Andrew Wileman, and co-leader of her church in Hedge End Ian Davis.

Hedge End Salvation Army Church near Southampton has created a pioneering role for Lynne Sillence as the worldwide evangelical Christian church’s first-ever Anna Chaplain for Older People.

It’s hoped Lynne is blazing a trail, as Andrew Wileman, the Salvation Army’s assistant director of older people’s services – who preached at the Sunday morning service – declared:

‘Rise up Simeons and rise up Annas in the church in our land!’

Alongside Lynne at her commissioning were many of the team of Anna Chaplains already ministering locally, led by the city chaplain for older people and Anna Chaplaincy network member Canon Dr Erica Roberts. Erica said the occasion had been, ‘so encouraging. We had a great, very moving, and Spirit-filled day.’

Anna Chaplain ‘in waiting’ Juliette Hooper with Anna Chaplaincy colleagues Margaret Hague, Lynn Sillence, Marion Hitchins, Carol Kidd and Susan Wareham.

Reflecting on the day, which saw Lynne surrounded by her church community as well as family members, she said: ‘We had a wonderful, joy-filled service, with Erica sharing a little of what an Anna Chaplain is and commissioning me, Andy preaching about Anna and Simeon and Louise Davis (church co-leader with Ian) praying for me. Ian and I signed the documents.’

‘I have the privilege of being the first Salvation Army Anna Chaplain and this may become a bit of a pioneer ministry for the Salvation Army in the future as we work together to support our elderly congregations and community.’

‘I am currently visiting four ladies and one gentleman in a local care home’, she said, ‘and supporting the family of a church friend whose father is receiving end-of-life care and asked for a person of faith to be with him on this part of his life journey – truly a privilege and humbling request – which I know the heavenly Father will give me the enabling to carry out.’

‘My work as a foot health practitioner had brought me into contact with many older people who I have a great affinity with and share Jesus with. I wanted to separate business from ministry and this opportunity presented itself to discover what it means to be an Anna Chaplain.’

‘I knew at once it was the Lord’s answer to my prayer and I am delighted to have been commissioned with the full support of my church family and leaders with further spiritual guidance from Erica and encouragement from Caraway.

We wish Lynn every success (writes Debbie Thrower) and look forward to other Salvation Army churches following Hedge End’s example and embracing the Anna Chaplaincy model to develop their ministry among older people further.




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