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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Meet Cumbria’s latest Anna Chaplain – Joan Routledge

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

We are delighted that Joan Routledge was commissioned earlier this month as an Anna Chaplain in Blackford and Rockliffe in Carlisle. She told us a little about herself and the day she took this new step:

‘It was a great privilege to be commissioned as an Anna Chaplain on Sunday 3 April by Revd Ian Johnston, to serve in his parishes of St John the Baptist, Blackford and St Mary the Virgin, Rockliffe.

Joan with Revd Ian Johnston and Diana Armstrong, Chair of the Cumbria Anna Chaplaincy Advisory Committee
‘I felt called to be with people in later life.’

‘Ian and I spent the earlier part of our lives in education, serving the needs of children and their families in primary schools and this still forms an important part of his ministry. Through volunteer work in care homes and as a volunteer with the chaplaincy team at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, I felt called to be with people in later life and feel that God has blessed me with this opportunity and surrounded me with those who have been an example, an encouragement and a welcome to serve in parishes where there is already a long-standing tradition of care for others and for the community.

‘Life “at a certain age” is a start, not a finish.’

‘Growing older can often be seen in a negative light but in doing that we lose sight of the treasure brought to our communities by those who have lived long enough to share their wisdom, knowledge and life experiences. In care homes, in our churches, in the hospital and in the community, I have met artists, authors, musicians, cooks, florists, people who still have dreams to fulfil, for whom life “at a certain age” is a start, not a finish and who have stories to tell and share. Most want to be able to be themselves, to retain and celebrate their unique identity and sense of self.

Anna Chaplaincy, walking alongside others wherever they are, helps us to recognise the value of listening carefully to people who are rich in experience, sharing, through invitation and friendship, lives lived in the good and bad times, celebrating everyone’s gifts, helping all who are older to feel we have spiritual meaning in our lives, in whatever form that comes, enabling them to enjoy the freedom that comes with age and to live with dignity, where everyone belongs.’




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