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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Penrith hosts Anna Chaplaincy Cumbria conference

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

Faith in Older People director, Maureen O'Neill, keynote speaker at the Anna Chaplaincy Cumbria Conference held at Penrith Methodist Church

Katherine Froggatt, Anna Chaplaincy lead in Cumbria, reports on the success of the weekend's Anna Chaplaincy Cumbria annual conference held on Saturday 17 September in Penrith for all those involved in ministry with older people as Anna Chaplains, Anna Friends, Dementia Enablers and other volunteers:

The conference was titled: Dancing with grace: New rhythms in later life and we explored how we can enhance our own ministry as well as the lives of older people we support in many different ways.

The conference was attended by 45 people from across Cumbria from a number of different denominations. The day offered talks, workshops, a time to meet each other in person and a final service of thanksgiving and commitment to our ministries with older people. The day was described by one participant as:

‘Motivational, challenging, encouraging and celebratory.’

Maureen O’Neill, director of Faith in Older People, set us off by asking us to think about how we can be alongside older people and keep the spirit dancing in later life. We were challenged to be detectives, to listen and seek to find the spirit inside others.

Debbie Ducille from BRF's national Anna Chaplaincy team encouraged us to consider the drum beats we are following and maybe there is a different one that we can listen to and follow in our support for, and with, older people.

Workshops were also offered on a variety of topics including running a tea service, planning for later life, multisensory ways of praying, a creative craft activity and playlist for life. These offered an opportunity to experience more practical aspects of ministry.

We finished the day with a service of celebration and commitment to our ministry with older people and Anna Chaplaincy in Cumbria and nationally.

Participants were invited to offer their commitment to this ministry, in whatever way they undertake this, through writing this on a leaf and then placing this on a tree.

This was an affirming and inspiring day for all concerned. It was lovely to be able to meet people for the first time in person after many months of Zoom contact.

(Images: all by KAFroggatt)




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