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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Ageing and family

'We are all ageing. Average life expectancy in the UK has recently risen to 80 for women and 75 for men, with 30% of the UK population now being over 60. Despite the seductions of a variety of pills, potions and procedures that claim to stave off the much-feared ‘appearances’ of ageing, we will all age until we die... Longer lives mean more generations coexisting; complex caring relationships evolve alongside the decline in the 'traditional' nuclear family. One way or another, our church communities reflect these changes.'

So begin Harriet and Donald Mowat's notes for this autumn's edition of Guidelines, part of a range of Bible study materials published by BRF.

The couple, who are now in their 60s, have spent their professional lives researching the care of older people and working in clinical practice. Their faith helps them understand better the challenges of the ageing journey.

Harriet was for some years a member of our Anna Chaplaincy Advisory Group. She and Donald led a course in Newcastle last year which helped Anna Chaplains discern their calling to this ministry. We all met up again this spring for Southampton's Refresh and Resource conference on ministry among older people, organised annually by network member and City Chaplain for Older People, the Revd Dr Erica Roberts.

More Anna Chaplains

The charity Erica founded, Caraway, is not only recruiting a new Anna Chaplain (click her to view the advert) but is already commissioning another Anna Chaplain for the port city next month. Kathy Hydes' appointment will bring the total number there to four Anna Chaplains, plus many Caraway Companions (the equivalent of volunteer Anna Friends). Visit the Caraway website.

Donald and Harriet Mowat (on the left) were keynote speakers at the Refresh and Resource conference organised by Erica Roberts (third from left).

How our faith can grow as we age

You might like to subscribe to the forthcoming edition of Guidelines, which includes a fortnight's worth of Harriet and Donald's notes exploring how 'age is presented in the scriptures as both a blessing and a curse, an opportunity for growth, change and surprises as well as inevitable limitations. Families are central to the social structure described in the scriptures, as they are today. They can be units of safety or discomfort. Relationships have to be negotiated. How can your faith grow as a result of your life experience as you age?'



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