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Baylee meets Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin
Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons

Baylee meets Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin | Kidspiration

When the Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin was growing up in Montego Bay, Jamaica, she probably wasn’t thinking about coming up with words of advice for a queen or member of Parliament. But today, she is Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II and the first woman to be Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Rev. Hudson-Wilkin has been making the “first of” list for many years. She became a Church of England priest in 1994, the first year the Church ordained women. In 2007, she was appointed a chaplain to Her Majesty, and then Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons in 2010. Her husband, Kenneth Wilkin, is also a priest, and has been the chaplain at Holloway prison.

What does a chaplain do? “I offer pastoral care,” she explains. This means making sure the House members “feel good enough on the inside to do their job well on the outside.” At times she’s sat with someone who was very sad. “I cry with them,” she says, but “still have to pull myself together to help them move on.”

Her other official duties include conducting daily prayers in the House of Commons, as well as a weekly service in the chapel. She leads religious ceremonies like baptisms and marriages and, as Priest Vicar for Westminster Abbey, is a counselor for the Palace of Westminster staff.

As chaplain to the Queen, she leads services in the Queen’s Chapel, as well as offering counsel to Her Majesty. “She is amazing,” Rev. Hudson-Wilkin says, adding with a big smile that she’s even had “a sleep-over” at Windsor Castle.

What advice does she have for kids who are wondering about their futures? “Enjoy learning, but not from celebrities,” she says. Instead find someone in your life who has really lived—like your grandfather or a great aunt or a good friend—and ask about their lives!



Baylee:
Hey I’m Baylee. And today I’m at the UK’s Houses of Parliament in London. Today we’re meeting Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin. She’s a chaplain to the Queen as well as Westminster’s Speaker’s chaplain. What does that mean? Let’s find out.

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Baylee:
Hi Rose. It’s really nice to meet you.

Reverend Rose:
Hello.

Baylee:
Can you start us off by telling me who you are what you do?

Reverend Rose:
My name is Rose Hudson-Wilkin. I am a priest in the Church of England. And my particular role is as chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. So in effect I am the parliamentary chaplain to both houses – the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Baylee:
What exactly does a chaplain do?

Reverend Rose:
The chaplain’s role is to offer pastoral care. And so that pastoral care is about making sure that everyone is well. Not just well physically ’cause I’m not a doctor.

Baylee:
[laughter]

Reverend Rose:
But spiritually – that on the inside people feel good enough to do their job well on the outside.

Baylee:
Do you sometimes not know what to say to the people who come to you for advice?

Reverend Rose:
When people are with you you are almost being on a journey with them. And so there are times when I cry with them because they’re so sad. So we cry together. And when I do cry with them I still have to pull myself together. So I feel the pain but I still have to pull myself together in order to help them move on from that point of pain to a place where they can find peace and continue to live lives that are meaningful.

Baylee:
How old were you when you came to London?

Reverend Rose:
I was 18 years old when I first came to start my training for ministry. And this was such a different place – my goodness. You know I stayed in Victoria the first time when I came for a couple of days because the college wasn’t quite ready for us to go to as yet. And I saw people running. And I’m looking around thinking oh there must be a fire. Where is the fire? And I stopped someone. I said, “Is there a fire?” They said, “No.” “Then why are you running?” They said, “We’re going to catch the train.” And I thought how strange. In Jamaica the train would wait for me. [laughter]

Baylee:
[laughter] Have you ever met the Queen in person?

Reverend Rose:
Oh yes I have met Her Majesty. She is amazing. And I had a sleepover at Windsor Castle.

Baylee:
Really? [laughter]

Reverend Rose:
Yes, absolutely amazing. I loved it.

Baylee:
What advice would you give to kids my age?

Reverend Rose:
I think the first advice that I would give is enjoy learning. And enjoy learning in particular not from celebrities but actually enjoy learning from the people around you who have really lived. Speak to your grandparents and great-grandparents. Ask to see them. Ask about their lives. And learn from them.

Baylee:
Thank you so much. It was really nice to meet you.

Reverend Rose:
Thank you. It’s a pleasure Baylee. Thank you.

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Baylee:
It was so inspirational meeting Reverend Rose. She gives so much to the people around her. See you next time.