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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Prayer-themed event for Anna Chaplaincy

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

This morning we spent two and a half hours online on the topic of prayer with our network. It was a fascinating exploration of the way Anna Chaplains, Anna Friends and other volunteers use prayer in their ministry, whether with older people, care home staff and in particular with people living with dementia. About 50 people had gathered from all over the country to take part.

Lindsay Pelloquin encouraged us 'to speak several languages' when it comes to praying with people who might come from all sorts of different church backgrounds or none. Drawing on her own Catholic tradition, she described how some Catholic residents may be so unaccustomed to extempore prayer that they begin to talk over you, not realising that you had been praying at all! Others from Baptist, United Reformed Church or Pentecostalist churches might expect prayers to be in more conversational language that comes 'very much from the heart'.

Lindsay heads an ecumenical team of Anna Chaplains and other volunteers in Rugby going into care homes pre-pandemic. They have a wide variety of churchmanship and she spoke of the 'treasures of the church' that are represented among them.

She has many years experience offering spiritual care in residential settings, is now permitted to visit a care home again because she is regarded as 'a member of staff'. She takes a Covid test beforehand and wears PPE.

In other sessions today, I spoke about reflecting theologically on our pastoral encounters and the experience of prayer; Julia Burton-Jones gave a wealth of resources for praying with people with dementia; Jill Phipps talked about creating sacred space when bringing Messy Vintage to older people in care; and Catriona Foster included a round-up of all sorts of practical, tangible resources such as laminated prayer cards, prayer leaflets and bookmarks, and reflections she has devised pegged to the seasons.

Some of the comments people have made since:

Thank you so much for all the preparation, in front and behind the screen, that went into making the prayer ministry such a good event. So much information given and such inspiration to us.
Lindsay was so helpful and encouraging.
Thank you all for a helpful, engaging and slick event.
I really enjoyed this morning's session on prayer ministry. It's been both formative and engaging.
Thanks for the ideas, the inspiration and the reminders.
Thank you for a very thoughtful and thought-provoking session. It leaves me much to think about.
Brilliant session today. Thank you so much, everyone.
God bless you and thank you for all of the ideas today!
So much good material, really professional. THANK YOU!

The next topics to be tackled in such online sessions will be Messy Vintage and more on the specifics of care home ministry and worshipping with people in residential care.


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