We thank Katy Canty as she steps down as Dean of Sector Ministers

First published on: 27th April 2023

The Bishop of Warrington said "Katy has served the Ministry of Dean of Sector Ministry with grace, insight, wisdom and professionalism.  Her work has been transformational - we all owe Katy a debt of gratitude as chaplaincy has now become so integrated within the life, the work in the ministry of this diocese." 

We spoke with Katy reflecting on her time within the role, the highlights, challenges and opportunities:

"I have really enjoyed getting to know and visiting people in their places of ministry.

During my time in post, I have had tea on a long boat, a meal with schoolchildren, prayed with some Malaysian sailors on a container ship, walked around a university campus, had a ride on a train for the afternoon and walked around the shops on the Docks to mention a few of the most memorable events

It has been seeing people in action meeting people and relating to them in their own parts of the community which is so enriching.They share with people the Gospel of compassion and care.

The biggest challenge I faced when starting was to find all our people who were engaged in Sector Ministry – that is ministry that is outside the church buildings, and invite them to come together from time to time. My greatest joy has been to see this happen and for different sectors to come alongside each other offering mutual understanding, support and care.

We have also brought together all forms of ministry, ordained and lay, full and part-time, paid and voluntary, because together we share that desire to share God’s love and compassion. As we have increased in number because of our inclusivity, we are now much more widely recognised in the Diocese and we feel much more connected and affirmed by all as we are very much part of the church’s mission

Our annual Commissioning Service presided over by a Bishop, is now a highlight of the year as we come together to rededicate ourselves to this form of ministry. 

I think that Chaplaincy is already playing a pivotal role in our Diocese in that it is already in the community and reaching people who do not come to church. In churches, there seems to be a growing interest from people to get involved in this part of the church’s ministry. People engage with Chaplains often when they are at difficult places in their life, and although they may not be actively searching for God, they meet a Chaplain who happens to be there at that time and can listen to them and care for them. We are often reminded of the way Jesus met with people – in their natural surroundings and not necessarily in a specific place. Even a brief fragmentary conversation may be the start of a person’s journey towards faith because it resonated with them in their time of need.

Chaplaincy is also an accepted part of our major institutions and it is good that our presence there remains and can sometimes play a part in their decision -making which may well affect our communities. During Covid, Chaplaincy was one part of the church that kept going and continued to offer care, support and practical assistance to other workers who were in the thick of dealing with the illness and continued to give even at cost to themselves

The advice I would give to the next Dean of Sector Ministers is that the most important thing is to be yourself and take on this responsibility in your own way. We have come a long way in the last few years as a group of people in the Diocese with a very clear pastoral heart for people, and I am sure this will go from strength to strength.

This is my second attempt at retirement, so I can honestly say I do not know what the future holds – yet; I am waiting to see where God leads me next! I am taking some time ‘off’ before I undertake anything else. I think my future may possibly Include more writing, speaking and teaching. Prison ministry really changed me as I have tried to share in ‘Heartbreak, Hope and Holy Moments’, and my time as Dean of Sector Ministers has opened my eyes to so many other forms of Chaplaincy- which might even warrant a further book! "

Katy has written a book focusing on her insights as a prison chaplain: 

“Our calling as Chaplains is to listen; to sit where they sit and allow them to tell us what they will.”

Who are the people that end up behind bars? What led them to this place and what do they care about in life? Katy Canty unlocks the experiences of prisoners, shedding light on the way a chaplain cares for the convicted.

Recounting the true stories of those she’s served; Katy gives a raw and authentic account of prison-life. Her stories might shock you, surprise you, and open your eyes to an unfamiliar world.

With a compassionate and humble approach, Katy walks alongside those on the inside. And she reveals the most important realities of all – the depth of God’s love and forgiveness and the possibilities of change with Him.

Heartbreak, Hope and Holy Moments is available from Waverley Abbey Resources and other Christian booksellers

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