‘Anna Chaplaincy’ is the name for an important initiative which Churches Together in Cumbria are launching in the county in 2020. It has been endorsed by the Anglican Bishops of Carlisle and Penrith, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Lancaster, the Chair of the Cumbria Methodist District and by other Church Leaders.
What is it about?
Anna Chaplaincy (AC) is a ministry to older people, and its purpose may best be summarised as follows:
“AC seeks to accompany older people at this age and stage of their lives. It is an ecumenical, community-based, chaplaincy promoting the spiritual welfare of older people. AC is a person-centred and non-judgemental ministry for people of strong, little or no faith at all. It involves visiting older people wherever they may be living, whether in residential and nursing homes, sheltered housing, retirement complexes or other private homes. The emphasis is on spiritual support but, clearly, people’s practical struggles will also play a part in their overall well-being.”
AC comes under the aegis of the Bible Reading Fellowship. The pioneer of AC was Debbie Thrower, a Reader in the Diocese of Winchester, who first took on the role in Alton, Hampshire in 2010. Anna Chaplains are so named after the widow Anna who appears in St Luke’s Gospel (chapter 2:36-38), along with Simeon, both being examples of faithful older people. There are now 100 Anna Chaplains nationwide.
Might I be eligible?
Yes! Anna Chaplains can be lay or ordained. They are appointed by, and accountable to, their local church; they work in care homes, private homes, churches and community settings with people of strong, little or no faith, Anna Chaplains are asked to give a day (or more) each week to their role and have a strategic focus, raising awareness of needs in ageing and dementia and taking a lead in worship and group activities. Training will be offered, as needed, and this will take account of an individual’s experience and interests.
How does this relate to Cumbria’s dementia-friendly churches project?
The dementia-friendly churches project comes to an end, in its present form, in September 2020. AC will both sustain and foster the churches’ engagement with older people in general and also help to ensure that ministry for and with people affected by dementia remains centre stage. A number of current Dementia Enablers may wish to become Anna Chaplains, but the role of the local DE will continue in any event.
AC will formally be launched on September 19th at the fifth annual Cumbria Churches’ Dementia Conference at the Border Kirk in Carlisle.
For further information about Anna Chaplaincy please contact Yvonne Povey: email@example.com