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  • Debbie Thrower

Anna Chaplaincy team expands

Updated: May 7


Julia Burton-Jones and Debbie co-leading training in ministry among older people at Cliff College, Derbyshire

A very warm welcome to Julia Burton-Jones, who has joined the Anna Chaplaincy staff team at BRF. In truth, we have long considered Julia a close colleague as she is the Anna Chaplaincy Lead and dementia specialist working with Rochester and Canterbury Dioceses. Working part-time, Julia is now our Church Lead, liaising with different denominations, including a number of Anglican dioceses.

Julia has co-led training courses with me at Cliff College, Derbyshire, and last year wrote a companion volume to the Anna Chaplaincy HandbookAnna Chaplaincy in Rochester Diocese: A blueprint for other dioceses across the UK (BRF, 2019), the story of how Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends were introduced to parishes (and now beyond her own diocese to other parts of Kent ) through a project which began in 2015.


Julia is a Dementia Friends Champion, and a dementia trainer in a number of care settings. She works as dementia facilitator for Music for Life, a pioneering programme for people living with dementia and their families, friends and carers.


She contributed to the recently published book God in Fragments: Worshipping with those living with dementia (Church House Publishing, 2020). She has also edited a publication entitled Approaching an Unthinkable Future: Understanding the support needs of people living with young onset dementia (September 2015, ISBN 978 0 99341 880 8). Julia explains: 'This guide is an account of young onset dementia from the perspective of people with a diagnosis and their families, and it seeks to give a voice to this seldom-heard group and create a momentum towards better recognition and support.'


In Kent, the main activities of her diocesan project have been:


  • Anna Chaplaincy: Working with The Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) to establish Anna Chaplaincy to meet the pastoral and spiritual needs of people with dementia and their families;

  • Dementia activities: Supporting new activities in parishes aimed at responding to needs in dementia (including dementia cafes, information events and memory-friendly worship) through training and networking opportunities;

  • Helping parishes work in partnership with other local agencies offering care and support to people with dementia;

  • Partnerships: Linking with other dioceses and denominations in developing effective approaches in dementia.

Now she is also part of our core Anna Chaplaincy team, we look forward to Julia increasingly being the person to whom church leaders speak about developing Anna Chaplaincy within their church structures. If you'd like to contact Julia directly, her email address is: julia.burton-jones@annachaplaincy.org.uk.


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