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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Two new Anna Chaplains for Ely diocese

Newly commissioned Anna Chaplains Beth Georgiou and Maria Parnell

We're delighted to welcome Beth Georgiou and Maria Parnell as Anna Chaplains in their diocese of Ely. They were both commissioned on August 6 at St Mary's Church, Ely. No doubt to make sure all parishioners were involved, the pair were commissioned three times that day... at each of the Sunday morning services!

'I didn’t plan to do this, but when I look back over my life, I like to believe God did, and all I’ve learned and experienced in life’s ups and downs has been useful in equipping me for this role.' - Anna Chaplain Beth Georgiou

The commissionings were an opportunity to highlight the words of Pippa Cramer, a Pastoral Care and Seniors Minister in Surrey, when she appeared recently on BBC Radio 4:

'We are all getting older and we’re all living longer, and the longer we live, the wiser we become and the greater positive impact we can have on those around us and in society. Sadly though, there seems to be a common belief, that as we grow older, we become less useful! That this world somehow, is only made for the young. As such, we so often see older people overlooked and marginalised.

It’s heartbreaking. There is SO much to learn from older people, who have enormous amounts of life experience & wisdom, & all of whom deserve respect, love and care… Many long for the profile of this incredible generation to be raised and for older people to be valued and respected as they deserve – in families, communities, our churches and society in general.

Some of our greatest biblical heroes went on some of their greatest adventures at a time when most of us today are settling into retirement.

When we live our lives for God, our journey and our purpose certainly don’t end here. He longs to use us at ANY age and at ANY stage. God has a special place in His heart for those who are older, and I hope and pray that this would increasingly be the case within your hearts too.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if our society began to stand up for the injustice of ageism? It might sound like a tall order, but perhaps, it just starts with us as individuals till ultimately the older generation is welcomed more into our communities and churches.'

Beth and Maria also answered the question 'What is Anna Chaplaincy?' for all those attending their commissioning:

'It’s a practical response to the needs of our age. It’s for the benefit of ALL older people, it’s interdenominational, and for those with a strong faith, little faith or no faith. For those who go to church, and those who don’t.'

'We can listen, and help to reflect on one’s life. The reality of retirement may not always live up to our expectations. With more time on our hands to reflect on the past, we may remember sad times and be searching for meaning.

We pray to bring peace and hope now and for the future especially when it’s time to prepare for the end of earthly life.

Part of our role at St Mary’s is advocacy, to be messengers, taking your requests in confidence to our ministry team. No guarantees, but allowing you to have your say and share your concerns.

Here at St Mary’s, we’ll support our groups already flourishing.

We hope to develop partnerships with local voluntary groups. We’ll continue to visit care homes and try to improve what we can offer them.

There is more we hope to do.

Anna Chaplaincy is a calling to be a gracious free gift from the church to older people, and we hope and pray it will flourish and enrich lives.'

Curate at St Mary's, the Revd Ruth Holmes who helped officiate at the commissionings




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