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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Vivid images of ministry 'together' in Herefordshire and Shropshire

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Anna Chaplains Diane Bates (Hereford) and Jane Peeler (Bridgnorth) coled workshops for Anna Chaplaincy as part of Hereford Diocese’s ‘Celebrate Together’ events, alongside Anna Chaplaincy church lead for BRF, Debbie Ducille.

More than 100 people attended each event, held on two consecutive Saturdays in the north and the south of the diocese, with approximately 20 people choosing to hear more about Anna Chaplaincy on each occasion.

Debbie says, ‘Both Celebrate Together events were joyful gatherings, bringing together the bishop, diocesan staff, clergy and lay leaders from across Herefordshire, the Welsh Borders and Shropshire for the first large in-person event in some time.

‘It was a pleasure to share workshop planning and delivery with Jane and Diane, who brought their vision and passion to life in helpful visuals, in order to explain their unique contexts and expressions of ministry.’

No ‘cookie-cutter’ franchise

Debbie explains: ‘Jane’s image was of a gingerbread man, made up of different colours and elements. We don’t impose a “cookie-cutter” ministry franchise centrally, where every Anna Chaplain does exactly the same thing, so what might an individual’s ministry look like? Jane spoke about the shape of her chaplaincy, what she does, and the values or characteristics that it relies upon: patience, compassion, wisdom, etc. This really allowed the workshop participants the freedom to consider their own situations and reflect on what Anna Chaplaincy might offer in their locality.

‘Diane’s contribution was based on a lovely hand-drawn plant, showing how her ministry is rooted in prayer and the affirmation of being part of BRF’s network of Anna Chaplains, which then allows her ministry to grow organically, with “branches” spreading out across her very rural benefice. Again, this was a great example of how Anna Chaplaincy, as a grassroots ministry, responds to local needs and gifts and was very helpful to workshop participants.’

Debbie concluded, ‘It’s so encouraging to hear network members, like Jane and Diane, speak with such energy and conviction about their ministry.’

‘It’s my hope that many more churches in this part of the UK will be inspired and explore Anna Chaplaincy for themselves, and find ways to support its growth in the diocese.’ – Debbie Ducille
Anna Chaplain Diane Bates




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