Anna Chaplains in Riding Mill
This was originally an article from the Riding Mill Parish News, which tells you more and encourages you to contact us
Anna Chaplaincy is a Christian Ecumenical Lay Ministry, which was launched in Alton, Hampshire in 2010. There are 230 Anna Chaplains across the UK and St James Church, here in Riding Mill, is very keen to support our very own three trained and commissioned Anna Chaplains. I have found hearing from our Anna Chaplains – Anne, Gill and Lynda – to be inspirational and I want to share what they do with the wider Parish. These are their words…
“Anna Chaplaincy is about nurturing spirituality in its broadest sense. The Anna Chaplain offers friendship and companionship to all people as they grow older, regardless of whether they have a faith or none. Those living with dementia are firmly included, as we believe that all are infinitely precious. We, and our whole church community, offer prayer for a wide range of people when requested.
During the recent Covid pandemic, Anna Chaplains have been greatly restricted in their ministry within the parish. We have had to concentrate on a telephone ministry to the vulnerable, the sick and those living alone. We are now, again, able to visit in person, following a negative LFT and by wearing a mask, if requested. Sadly, it is still not possible to visit any patients in hospital.
We attend the village ‘Drop In’ on most Tuesday afternoons. The organisers have made us very welcome giving us the opportunity to meet socially, with people from the local area and give pastoral support.
As Anna Chaplains we are qualified to give End of Life Ministry and funeral care. We visit the sick in their own homes and offer friendship and spiritual care, often over many months. If the individual patient, or their family, appreciate it we can administer a short service and Home Communion.
We continue to attend training sessions and ‘Gatherings’ – now mainly held on Zoom. This is a brilliant tool as we are able to develop our ministry and share information with other Anna Chaplains, nationwide. We are also part of a Dementia Care Group, led by an experienced team from Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon. We meet monthly on Zoom, learning how to support and stimulate those living with Dementia and their Carers.
We have been made welcome by the management staff and guests at Wentworth Grange and Hampton House over many years. We have visited in pairs and offered a regular communion service. We have arranged worship services with a seasonal theme, which was popular with guests, who missed regular worship. Others who came welcomed the opportunity to attend. With the easing of pandemic restrictions, we were able to see as many as wanted to see us. We have usually visited individually with the encouragement of the management and staff. Most guests are glad to have the pastoral support we could provide over a growing variety of events. Looking forward, the management hope to provide transport for any guests who would like to attend St. James’ Church.
It is a privilege for us, and a humbling experience, to be Anna Chaplains and to be serving in the parish and village of Riding Mill.”
So I encourage people to get in touch if you would like to receive a telephone call, or visit. If you know of someone who would appreciate this form of support, but are unable to request this for themselves, please contact the amazing Anna Chaplain team. Their contact details are regularly featured on the Parish Directory page of the Parish News.