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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Southampton’s Anna Chaplaincy team grows as Jackie Cooper is commissioned

Updated: May 16, 2022

Revd Simon Robertson, Jackie Cooper and Revd Dr Erica Roberts at the Church of Ascension, Bitterne Triangle, Southampton

It is a great joy to see Jackie Cooper commissioned as Anna Chaplain in Bitterne, Southampton on Sunday (5 May ) having first met her many years ago in Alton, Hampshire (writes Debbie Thrower). Revd Simon Robertson, Jackie’s vicar, presided and Southampton’s city chaplain for older people (and long-standing member of the Anna Chaplaincy Network), Revd Dr Erica Roberts attended the service at the Church of Ascension, Bitterne Triangle.

We asked Jackie to describe her journey to this point:

‘It was a very special service and very affirming. It feels as though it has been a long and winding road to get to this point. I am an occupational therapist and for most of my working life, I have been working with older people with dementia and other mental health conditions.’

‘About 8 years ago I felt that God was calling me to use my experience and skills in service for him. I shadowed Debbie Thrower for a day to see how that might look which led to me starting my training to become a licensed lay minister (LLM), as this seemed to be the direction God was calling me.’

‘However, after about 18 months, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I had to discontinue my training. This was somewhat confusing at the time as I felt I was following God’s leading. After a couple of years following successful treatment, I completed my spiritual direction training which I completed at the beginning of 2020.

‘The “itch” that God had put there was still itching so I revisited the thought of picking up my LLM training and even considered ordination. I started the discernment process with the Church of England. The lady I was meeting with asked me where my passion lay. My immediate response was that my passion lay with the local church and its surrounding community. Shortly after this meeting, I met with my vicar and he suggested that I look into Anna Chaplaincy and suggested I meet with Erica Roberts.’

‘Having spoken with Erica it became very clear that Anna Chaplaincy was the way that God was leading me and it was amazing to feel that everything was fitting into place at last!’

I completed the training offered by BRF and, as I said, was commissioned last Sunday – I can’t wait to see how God will use me in this new role.’




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