My first three months as Anna Chaplain in St Albans
It’s been a busy three months since I started my role as Anna Chaplain in St Albans. Getting to know my supporting communities at Hatfield Road and Marlborough Road Methodist Churches has been a joy. During June and July I was able to organise, with the help of the pastoral coordinators in each church, Afternoon Teas hosted in church members’ gardens (and in a few cases, houses, when the weather wasn’t playing ball!).
In all we held 17 gatherings, including a residents’ tea party at Davis Court, a sheltered housing complex in the centre of the city. I was able to answer questions about the Anna Chaplaincy and introduce myself to people there, which was a real privilege. During this time I’ve continued to offer informal Hymns & Crafts services at Tara’s Retreat in Sandridge. I was also able to arrange a home communion service there, and hope to discuss the worship and pastoral care provision with Sandridge’s new Vicar in the next week or so. Most care homes in St Albans have not resumed worship so there are hopes this will gradually change over the coming weeks.
As I write, we are making plans for the ever-popular Holiday at Home. This year’s offering will be the usual friendly, welcoming, fun-filled few days, even if the Covid restrictions mean we can’t organise the usual Day Trip. There will be games, music, entertainment, craft activities and refreshments. I was invited to write a piece for the Herts Advertiser about Holiday at Home and Anna Chaplaincy in general, and am due to be interviewed on Three Counties Radio this coming weekend about my role.
With the national Covid guidelines allowing for more gatherings indoors with larger groups, we can start making firmer plans for September, we have already met to discuss Friday Daycare at Hatfield Road and how it might return in the Autumn, and my hope is to start co-ordinating small pastoral visiting groups for care home coffee mornings if and when restrictions allow for this.
Please do get in touch with me if you have any thoughts and ideas you would like to share to help grow the new chaplaincy. I hope over the coming months to give people the opportunity of helping me offer companionship to people in care homes, sheltered housing, volunteering with befriending and hospitality within church and beyond. Along with Emma Williams our Children & Families worker, I will be presenting my thoughts and ideas at Hatifield Road on the afternoon of 11 August. So watch this space for updates or check out my page on Facebook for regular posts about Anna Chaplaincy in St Albans. https://www.facebook.com/AnnaChaplaincyStAlbans