Ann Stevenson was Elim’s first hospital lead chaplain in the UK. She has recently retired after 25 years’ service. She tells us about serving Sandwell Health Authority
Ann Stevenson was the pioneering Pentecostal chaplain in the National Health Service, reaching thousands of people across a quarter of a century.
Ann, 66, was sent off with a thanksgiving service after announcing her retirement, and firmly believes God placed her in what she describes as a ‘privileged position’.
“During my time as a hospital chaplain, I was in a privileged position to be able to minister God’s love, peace and care into people’s lives and that didn’t stop when I left the building! It will continue in my daily life because it’s who God called me to be. Pastoral ministry is always my way of life. I’ll still be on the team at Crosspoint Church, Birmingham, which is my local church.”
Over the years, the chaplaincy department both in Elim and the hospital evolved following Ann’s pioneering step.
Elim has more than 100 chaplains working in many areas. This group at a recent conference in Malvern includes Ann Stevenson at front centre
She explains, “I joined the chaplaincy team as a third-year student on placement from Bible college. The Church of England chaplain at the time created a post for a pastoral assistant that I successfully filled. As time went on, I realised that to be a chaplain I would need to become a minister.
“I moved from a small evangelical church to Birmingham City Church and there I was encouraged to apply for Elim ministry. I think I was the first one to be accepted as a Minister In Training although I never wanted to be a church minister, which was pretty forward thinking of Elim at the time.
“I’ll always be grateful to the late Wynne Lewis and to Gordon Hills for their foresight in enabling the way forward. At that time Elim didn’t belong to the Free Churches Group so I thought I wasn’t eligible to become a chaplain, but God had other ideas! I’m happy to say that I progressed through the ranks and became team leader in 2011.
“Elim Chaplaincy has blossomed under the directorship of Nigel Tween who, prompted by another chaplain in the prison sector, Mary Causer, organised the first chaplaincy day conference in Cheltenham. Then we moved to residential conferences in Nantwich and now Malvern.
“Today there are several full-time Elim ministers in healthcare, the prisons, the armed forces, education and many more in other sectors. Quite a few are managing chaplains who fill roles of national leadership in the chaplaincy sector they serve. We recently had our tenth annual conference and we’re preparing for the next Chaplaincy Foundation Course – our fifth – in March.”