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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Cliff College – Anna Chaplaincy training

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

The Class of 2019: Cliff College's short course 'An introduction to ministry among older people – the Anna Chaplaincy approach'

Heading for the Derbyshire Dales recently were attendees from Devon, Cumbria and other parts of northern England, the Midlands, London, East Anglia, and south- and mid-Wales for Cliff College's first-ever weekend course on the Anna Chaplaincy approach to ministry among older people.


It was fascinating meeting of 17 men and women, many of whom are already engaged in aspects of supporting older people through their churches and communities. Some were church leaders and there was a wide-ranging ecumenical spread: Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Free Evangelicals, a Wesleyan Church member and a participant from the Congregational Federation.

Together, we addressed topics such as:

  • Why older people matter

  • The spirituality of ageing

  • Promoting the importance of spiritual care in later life

  • Knowing one's 'patch'

  • Forging partnerships locally

  • Facing up to one's own mortality

Local attractions

Cliff College staff and students, whom we joined for early-morning prayers over the weekend as well as for meals in the refectory, were as welcoming and hospitable as ever. There was free time on Saturday afternoon to walk the hills or explore nearby Chatsworth House and the charming town of Bakewell, with its delicious eponymous almond and raspberry jam tarts!

What people said…

Feedback on the training was resoundingly positive, using words such as 'illuminating', 'practical and very useful', 'confidence-boosting' and 'inspirational'.

Next year

Bookings are well underway for the next Certificate Course in Ministry among Older People in February 2020 which I'll also lead.

I look forward to getting to know another cohort of those keen to acquire more in-depth knowledge, from 23 to 28 February 2020. There's an option to gain a certificate in ministry in this field, subject to reaching the required standard in a written assignment.

Following last year's 2018 Certificate Course, several people have gone on to become Anna Chaplains or volunteer Anna Friends in their respective parts of the UK, and others are putting into practice ideas gleaned there on returning to their own ministries in Canada and Switzerland.

Innovative approaches to supporting people with dementia and their carers, as well as Messy Vintage, will feature in the curriculum next year. Once again, I'll be joined by Anna Chaplaincy Lead for Rochester and Canterbury Dioceses, Julia Burton-Jones.

Friendly country setting

Cliff College is a few miles from the M1 motorway, with good public transport links, too. So, if you're interested in more training for Anna Chaplaincy, and ministry with older people generally, it is a great place in which to have the opportunity to learn, network and refresh yourself in an idyllic rural setting.

The hills above Calver and local beauty spot The Edge



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