top of page
  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Nicky Gumbel on ageism

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

According to Nicky Gumbel, he's now entering the most productive decade of his life.

Despite stepping down from Holy Trinity Brompton in recent months, Rev Nicky Gumbel, 67, clearly sees one's later years as those which can bear significant fruit. He is famous as the developer of the Alpha Course, an introduction to Christianity supported by churches of many different Christian traditions.

The Church Revitalisation Trust, CRT, describes the Caleb Stream as 'a one-year pathway for ordained ministry in the Church of England. The Caleb Stream is designed specifically for mature and experienced lay leaders. It overlaps the formal selection process and training, preparing candidates for ordination and local deployment after twelve months.'

Nicky Gumbel's comments resonate with the findings of the Anna Chaplaincy Impact Report 2021: Where we are a decade on which reported that the majority of Anna Chaplains are in the 61–70 age bracket.

Pioneer of Anna Chaplaincy, Debbie Thrower explains that 'this is partly because there are comparatively few paid posts in older people's ministry. Only around a quarter of our Anna Chaplains are paid a salary by their churches. Where paid posts are advertised they attract younger recruits. It is good to see more of these appearing as time goes on in order to allow younger applicants who cannot afford to do this work on an entirely voluntary basis to seek such roles.'

'That said, it is remarkable to see how many people post retirement are fulfilling their vocations in this field of ministry – women and men, lay and ordained – bringing a wealth of experience to being chaplains among their peers and to others in the fourth age. They are finding much meaning and purpose in the process.'



bottom of page