Norwich chaplain moves after 18 years in prison
By Val Dodsworth
2009: After more than 18 years “in the nick”, the last of these as Chaplain at HMP Norwich, the Rev Judith Wilson said goodbye to many friends at a party on the Mississippi River boat which paddled its way out of Horning and around the Broad and along the river for three hours on August 27.
About 70 friends and colleagues from the Prison Chaplaincy, Prison Fellowship, Prison staff, both uniformed and civilian, of all grades, gathered on a beautiful summer’s evening, for this memorable occasion.
Judith was described by Terry Baxter, her chaplaincy colleague, as “a very hands on Chaplain” who has been involved with many individuals, at very many levels in Norwich prison for the past eight and a half years.
Innumerable contacts and friends have been made, not only with prison inmates, but with many staff members who have also valued her wisdom and compassion in times of need. Her many duties have ranged from negotiations with the Governor on behalf of the Chaplaincy, to mopping the floor, if that was what was needed!
She leaves behind a well organised and dedicated Chaplaincy team which will be led by her deputy Bishop Lebert Shakes.
Judith spent five years at HMP Wandsworth, before moving to Hollesley Bay as the Chaplain there for the next five years, and then coming Norwich in 2001.
Her next move is not to retirement, but to be Priest in Charge at St Helen’s, Bishopgate in Norwich, a job which brings with it the Chaplaincy to the Great Hospital. Not content with these responsibilities, Judith is also involved as a Canon of Norwich Cathedral, Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands and has a special responsibility for Women’s ministry.
Sounds like retirement is still a bit away yet.
Pictured is Rev Judith Wilson at her farewell party on the Mississippi River boat.