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  • Debbie Thrower

Making a start on pastoral care

Updated: May 21


Good ideas from all over the country for offering spiritual care to older people are collated in a brand-new booklet published by Christians on Ageing. Anna Chaplaincy is featured in Making a start: Developing pastoral care for older people, among other articles from one of our network members in Birmingham, and others reporting on their work in Leeds, North Allerton and Thirsk in North Yorkshire, and South Lanarkshire, Scotland.


Where do we start?

Helen McCormack in North Allerton writes about her role as a Pastoral and Development Worker for older people, for instance, where her post involves Methodists and the United Reformed Church. Indeed, the book came about because of conversations that Helen had after giving a talk at a Christians on Ageing 2019 conference in her area: 'A constantly recurring question was, "We’d like to start something like that. How did you do it?"' With this in mind Christians on Ageing decided to produce a booklet, of around 30 pages, which answers that question. It costs £2.50 (with a discount for charity members).


The article about Anna Chaplaincy describes how we started, the motivation for it, who runs it, achieving objectives, how the ministry is evaluated and how one moves forward, and so on.

So if your church or community is saying that post-Covid-19, 'We really should be doing more for our older people', this booklet is a great place to start!


Christians on Ageing has a Bookshop with other publications of relevance to spiritual care for people in their later years. For example: Faith in the Third Age by Dr Michael J Lowis, Dying and Death: What have Christians to say to secular society by Gerry Burke, Growing dementia-friendly churches by Gaynor Hammond, and Light of Faith: Reflections on growing old by Bishop George Appleton, among many others. There's a 10% discount on purchases for members of the charity.

The Revd Dr Albert Jewell is secretary of the charity's Dementia Network. The network 'brings together a wide range of those who support people with dementia or who are professionally involved in treatments or research. It has, under different titles, been an important part of Christians on Ageing work for over 25 years. Our twice-yearly Dementia Newsletter has been published continuously since 1992. The newsletter, which is available free by email attachment to anyone interested, seeks to do the following:

  • Keep readers up-to-date on media coverage of dementia and research advances.

  • Review the most significant books in an expanding publications field.

  • Encourage attendance at relevant conferences and seminars such as the 5th International Conference on Spirituality and Ageing held in Edinburgh in July 2013 in which Christians on Ageing was involved.

  • Facilitate connections amongst readers, recent examples being the use of ‘Godly play’ with people with dementia and the fostering of dementia-friendly churches which is leading to a growing number of conferences and seminars around the country.'


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