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‘Who’s God calling?’ – Anna Chaplaincy shares spotlight at Central Readers’ Council conference


Vice-Chair of BRF Trustees Canon Dr Christina Baxter was a keynote speaker at the Central Readers’ Council conference online at the weekend. The theme was ‘Lay Ministry – the theology of our calling’ – watch the conference talks on YouTube.


As an AngIican LLM (Reader) myself, and pioneer of the predominantly lay-led Anna Chaplaincy, I was also part of the panel (writes Debbie Thrower) for the final section of the event addressing delegates questions and comments.


I shared how in Kent, for example – a part of the country with the highest proportion of such chaplains – 26 out of the 46 Anna Chaplains are either LLMs, or LLMs in training, (plus yet more authorised lay ministers from other denominations). And I explained how exciting it is that so many Anna Chaplains are themselves in their later years, focusing on opportunities for spiritual growth among older generations.


The morning’s key speakers, in addition to Dr Baxter, were Matthew Frost, former CEO of Tearfund, Andrew Graystone – author of Faith, Hope and Mischief – and Jo Henderson-Merrygold, warden of readers in Derby Diocese.


Matthew Frost described what has helped him most to develop as a disciple.


For a masterly reflection on the theology underpinning lay ministry, do watch Christina’s talk which opened the proceedings.


There is also much food for thought in the other presentations too. About 220 people joined the online conference from the UK and abroad (with a further 760 to date tuning in since then!).



Next year’s 2022 Transforming Ministry event promises to focus on chaplaincy and lay ministry.


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