Rev Canon Ann Easter
The story of Ann Easter is an interesting and fascinating one. Ann is a local girl who was born in Upton Park, who has played a prominent role in the local community and within local churches and now serves as a councillor for Canning Town North. Recently, Ann became a chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen and in doing so became the first figure to carry out this role from Newham. This role and responsibility requires her to preach once a year at St James Palace.
From an early age, (aged 6) Ann had decided that she wanted to become a priest and felt a calling to this role. Although not many women occupied roles within the church, Ann was surrounded by strong women in her life notably her mother and grandmother who gave her the impression that anything was capable. At the age of 7 Ann moved from Upton Park to East Ham, where her parents bought her first house. After attending a Methodist Sunday School, she was then introduced to the Society of St Francis at St Philips Church, Plaistow, where she experienced Anglo Catholic worship.
Ann’s first visit to the church came a week before Christmas and she was struck by the different way they conducted themselves and immediately felt at home in the church. This cemented the call that she felt to leadership and the priesthood. Ann was made a Deaconess and worked for the Diocese of Chelmsford. A constant campaigner for equal rights for women in the church, she was finally ordained priest of the Church of England in Chelmsford Cathedral in 1994 and became the first female canon in the borough and was also the area’s first female dean. This progress was not always easy as church leadership was largely male dominated, but Ann had no complaints about the training that she received in her time. Ann was confident and determined of the call she had received.
Ann also served with great distinction as the Chief Executive of the local charity Renewal, taking over from Paul Regan. Ann continued a lot of the good work the charity performed and led them into exciting new times. Recently Ann has handed over the reins, but remains proud of the achievements of the charity and in particular the Christian emphasis. The story of Ann Easter is one of a remarkable woman who has succeeded in whatever task she has set herself.