Anna Chaplaincy joins London Diocese’s Lent Appeal
Updated: Mar 2
Debbie Ducille and Julia Burton-Jones from the BRF national team represented Anna Chaplaincy at the launch of London Diocese’s Lent Appeal yesterday (24 February).
The theme of the Lent Appeal is promoting positive mental and emotional health and the launch was hosted by the Mind and Soul Foundation at St Dionis Church in Parsons Green.
The event included a marketplace where Debbie and Julia were able to display information and talk to participants about Anna Chaplaincy; there was much interest and several churches plan to be in touch to take further the conversation about establishing a ministry with older people under the Anna Chaplaincy banner.
Julia and Debbie were joined by friends Tina English from Embracing Age and Jeremy Sharpe from Linking Lives (one of our partners in Christians Together Against Loneliness). These organisations, like Anna Chaplaincy, are partnering with London Diocese’s Compassionate Communities in raising awareness and resourcing churches through the Lent Appeal.
The event was opened by the bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, who spoke about the prevalence of mental health struggles among Londoners. She said there is higher reporting of challenges in the capital than in other parts of the UK, with half of the adult population saying they are anxious. Inspiring presentations were given by Ruth Rice from Renew Wellbeing, Bekka Legg from Restored and Kate Middleton at Youthscape – the three sponsored charities supported through the Lent Appeal.
Renew Wellbeing supports churches to provide ‘quiet shared spaces where it’s okay not to be okay’. Renew cafes are based on three principles – being present, being prayerful and being in partnership.
Restored was formed in response to the reality that one in four female churchgoers experience domestic abuse. They are encouraging churches to increase awareness of domestic abuse and become a Restored Beacon church where survivors can find safety. Anna Chaplains will find domestic abuse features in the stories they hear from older people.
Youthscape supports young people and those who come alongside them in their social, emotional and spiritual development. At the beginning of the pandemic, they established a new online space, Headstrong, focusing on promoting positive mental wellbeing.
Corin Pilling from Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries spoke about the risk of burnout in ministers at this stage of the pandemic, and how to spot the signs and act to preserve mental wellbeing. Self-compassion, he said, does not come easily to some in ministry but is vital in maintaining wellbeing. Sanctuary has free resources to equip churches to support mental health and wellbeing.
Anna Chaplaincy is the featured organisation for week six in the Lent Appeal prayer diary; Christians across London will be praying for older people whose lives have been restricted during the pandemic, for Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends and for churches to offer a warm welcome to lonely older people. A blog about Anna Chaplaincy by Julia Burton-Jones will be posted on the Compassionate Communities website during Lent.
We look forward to working with churches in the London Diocese in establishing spiritual care for older people.