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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

South coast’s new Anna Chaplaincy in Shoreham-by-Sea

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

Lynda Hulcoop, Anna Chaplain.

A recently retired minister of Southwick Christian Community Church, West Sussex, now enjoys the support of her church to begin her ministry as an Anna Chaplain in the seaside town.

Lynda Hulcoop was commissioned at the weekend and tells her story of being drawn to Anna Chaplaincy:

‘It was during lockdown that I had plenty of time to think and pray and seek the Lord. I knew I was coming up to retirement from being pastor of Southwick Christian Community Church and was wondering what God would call me to do after this phase of my life was ending. I spent time reflecting on my passion and giftings at this stage of life. I knew that I was first and foremost an evangelist and love reaching out to people in the community beyond the church. I also felt my gifting was more towards older people rather than youth and children. Time went by until God clearly showed me the way ahead.

‘One week, whilst still working as a pastor, I went into two different care homes. In the first one, the activities coordinator asked to speak to me, poured out her heart for around an hour regarding her personal spiritual situation and told me she really wanted the residents to have more spiritual input. Then the following day the exact same thing happened in a different home. I came away feeling overwhelmed by a sense of calling to this. I went home and googled ‘Christian organisations working with older people’. I found several and contacted them and they eventually suggested Anna Chaplaincy.

Donna Guyver, activities coordinator Kingsland House, Shoreham-by-Sea with Lynda.

‘I felt this sense of calling needed testing out. Amazingly, I went into the first care home again and the social coordinator I had spoken to first said she had been looking for a contact she had previously had and lost. She had just found it and said she was looking for Anna Chaplaincy. I couldn’t believe it and told her that was the very role I was beginning to explore. I felt this to be confirmation. I also spoke to family and friends who know me well about the role, and all affirmed that they felt I was equipped for that. The church I had been pastoring said they would sponsor me and be my sending church which was exactly what I had prayed for. One friend in the church also paid for me to do the training course. During this time I had personal Zoom meetings with folk in Anna Chaplaincy and followed this with meetings with them and my church leadership. At each step, the call to become an Anna Chaplain seemed to be confirmed.

‘So, I gave myself six months rest from ministry after retirement, and then in November felt it was time to start pursuing the call with training. I joined others around the country on Zoom and it was lovely to meet with people who had a similar passion to work with older people. I then started exploring the local care homes, feeling very positively that God was opening up several doors.

Elder, Jan Dale, posing the commissioning questions.

‘On Sunday 26 February, I was commissioned at Southwick Christian Community Church, the church I had pastored for 24 years and just retired from.

‘It was a very warm welcome back and a lovely service of worship around my commissioning by the church elders, supported by the whole church.

Elders pray with Lynda at her commissioning service.

‘It was wonderful to have the lady from the care home who had helped set the whole thing off in church that day and I was able to thank her for being used by God to confirm this calling. I was able to encourage the church to get involved in the ministry among older people as they felt called.

‘The sermon was about the foot-washing and being willing to be used in humble service which all seemed so relevant on the day. The service was followed by some refreshments.’

Revd Lynda Hulcoop


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