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  • Debbie Ducille

Spreading the word in Peterborough Diocese

Anna Chaplain Liz Kelly sent us this encouraging report of her input to another Bishop’s Study Day, this time in Peterborough Diocese.

Liz Kelly

This year’s Bishop’s Bible Day in Peterborough welcomed Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley as the guest speaker. She chose the book of Judges for her two keynote talks and these were supported by several workshops led by local clergy and lay ministers. Anna Chaplain, Liz Kelly, who is also a licensed lay pastoral minister, chose to use the life of Samson to illustrate the spirituality of ageing and to talk about the work of Anna Chaplaincy in the workshop she led.

Liz says:

‘When I first learned that my workshop had to have a connection with the book of Judges, I was a bit perplexed as to how I could include the message about Anna Chaplaincy. Then, when I read the story of Samson again, I realised that his life could be used to illustrate what is meant by the spirituality of ageing. In his youth he has no regard for anyone other than himself. He is immensely strong and is successful in battles with the Philistines. He has a weakness for women, and he leads an active life in middle age when he is a Judge of the people of Israel for twenty years. He is busy doing and has little time for being until he loses his strength, is blinded and imprisoned and is forced to work at a repetitive task. This diminishment mirrors the loss of independence frequently experienced today as people grow older. We acted out an imaginary conversation between Samson and an Anna Chaplain, who was visiting him in his confinement, during which he began to reflect on his past life and to consider where God had been in all of it. Like us, he was trying to find answers to the big spiritual questions we ask ourselves, and finally, by coming to terms with his life story, to make peace with others, and with God, before he died. Finally, we looked at the ministry of Anna Chaplaincy and why it is so important today. I was delighted that 34 people signed up for the workshop, which I led once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Several of the participants expressed a real interest in finding out more and I hope they may join the network in due course.’

‘I’m sure, like me, you are inspired by Liz’s inspiring and creative choice of focus in her workshop,’ says ministry lead Debbie Ducille. ‘Thank you so much for sharing this update, Liz – you have helped me connect Samson’s story with Anna Chaplaincy in a wholly new way!’



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