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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Anna Chaplaincy arrives in Cumbria

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

Anna Chaplaincy Church Lead, Julia Burton-Jones, has exciting news of developments in the north-west of England. It includes a new paid role to spearhead Anna Chaplaincy, building on amazing work already begun in the region for people living with dementia:


In 2015 Churches Together in Cumbria (CTiC) set itself the ambitious target of ‘making every church in Cumbria dementia-friendly by 2020’. The main strategy in doing this was to appoint Dementia Enablers in local churches. Five years later, after much hard work, CTiC can consider this project to have been a resounding success.

There are now 130 Dementia Enablers spread across the county in all the denominations, supported by a Dementia Project officer employed by CTiC. There is an annual conference on dementia at which Dementia Enablers are updated; they also meet one another regularly in local enabler gatherings. Enablers become Dementia Friends and encourage others in their church and community to do so too. They have a checklist (developed for them by national charity Livability) that enables them to work with others to ensure their church offers a dementia-friendly welcome, looking at ways in which they communicate, what they can do to involve people with dementia in worship and how accessible their buildings are.

A practical example of how churches are responding is the regular tea services hosted by seven churches across Cumbria – a short service with familiar readings and hymns, followed by conversation over tea and cake.

The Churches Together Dementia Project is approaching its conclusion in September 2020. CTiC decided in late 2019 to build on the Dementia Project through launching Anna Chaplaincy in Cumbria. It is hoped that some of those who are currently Dementia Enablers will become Anna Chaplains, but also others who have not been involved in the current project.

Despite Covid-19 CTiC is forging ahead with plans to launch Anna Chaplaincy in Cumbria at its annual event, which has been switched to Zoom and will take place on 19 September. This event will celebrate all that has been achieved through the Dementia Project and look ahead with anticipation to this new phase and the launch of Anna Chaplaincy in Cumbria. Several people have already expressed interest in becoming an Anna Chaplain, and the project received a wonderful encouragement on 22 June with news that The Henry Smith Charity’s Christian Projects programme is to fund an Anna Chaplaincy Lead to work 20 hours a week on the project for two years.

CTiC are currently recruiting an Anna Chaplaincy Lead. The closing date for the post is Monday 13 July at noon. Information about the post and an application form can be found on CTiC’s website. Please pass on details of this exciting new job to anyone who may be interested.


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