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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Winchester Diocese reflects on the years since Anna Chaplaincy began in Hampshire

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Anna Chaplaincy pioneer Debbie Thrower visiting in Alton, Hampshire

This Candlemas season, the bishop of Southampton Debbie Sellin takes the opportunity to introduce the work of Anna Chaplaincy in an email to churches this week:

‘Anna and Simeon show real wisdom, and their lifetimes of holiness and worship allow them to recognise the fulfilment of God’s promise to send a Messiah. This week’s newsletter honours the many gifts of the older people in our diocese as we celebrate the ministries of Anna Chaplaincy which began in our diocese, in Alton.’

She explains how Candlemas or the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple is a story ‘which features the characters of Simeon and Anna, two older people who instantly recognise the infant Jesus as the promised Messiah. Anna the prophetess is described as “very old” and as “fasting and praying day and night” in the temple where she meets Jesus and “praises God” and begins spreading the news about him. Simeon’s beautiful words as he holds the baby Jesus in his arms, “My eyes have seen your salvation’” are used today in our Evensong and funeral liturgies.’

Her words lead into an article by Debbie Thrower about Anna Chaplaincy’s growth in Hampshire where it started and its reach today.




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