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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Reimagining Care Commission cochair visits Kendal Anna Chaplaincy

Visit to Heron Hill care home with Rob (activity coordinator), Bishop James, Margaret Tomlinson (Anna Friend), Beverley Moore (Anna Chaplain) and Will Fremont-Brown.

In 2021, the archbishop of Canterbury established a Reimagining Care Commission, that seeks to develop a radical and inspiring vision for care and support, drawing on Christian theology and tradition. As part of this process, Bishop James Newcome (cochair of the Commission) visited the Anna Chaplaincy work in Kendal, as an example of the way faith communities are providing care and support within their local communities.

Bishop James, along with Will Fremont-Brown, archbishops’ commission's manager, met with: Beverley Moore, Anna Chaplain at Kendal Parish Church; Rev Shanthi Thompson, vicar of Kendal Parish Church; Di Armstrong, chair of the Cumbria Anna Chaplaincy advisory group; and Margaret Tomlinson, Anna Friend, volunteering in the Kendal team.

Beverley reflects on the visit:

'The meeting with Bishop James was very encouraging, both Bishop James and Will made many notes and asked us lots of questions about our work within care home facilities and within our local community.'

'I had managed to get some input from Diane Smillie, director of Dignity in Dementia, a local non-profit organisation working within the Cumbria area, about what she feels is lacking for older people locally. We covered many areas and topics not least the lack of funding provision for respite care for carers, many of whom care for a loved one living with dementia 24 hours a day and the lack of domiciliary agencies in South Cumbria who have long waiting lists, unless you are lucky enough to be able to pay £35 per hour for care.

I received a lovely letter of support from the daughter of one of our tea services attendees who has been with us from the beginning of our tea services. Miriam sent me a video of her mum singing one of the hymns from our previous tea service using the service booklet, which I played for Bishop James. It was really moving in the stillness of the Vestry to hear Barbara singing. Many of our tea service congregation take home the service booklet which they can use again at home, as Barbara does, and we also provide a link to our YouTube channel where those who cannot attend can join with us in their own time.'

'We discussed how great the need is for older people to maintain links to their churches and to ensure that their spiritual care is not overlooked when they become unable to either visit church or when they move into a care facility. Very often the physical needs are met but spiritual care can be lacking at a time of life when spiritual care should be prioritised. Anna Chaplaincy Kendal aims to fill this need both in care homes and the wider community wherever possible.'

Bishop James and Will Fremont-Brown were also able to visit a local care home, Heron Hill, where Beverley regularly provides support for residents. This was an opportunity for them to meet with staff and see the context of ministry.

We look forward to seeing the commission’s report when published next month.




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