At one of our Network Get Togethers this summer we heard of some of the ways Anna Chaplains receive appreciation for their work in the field.
One, who prefers to be referred to just as 'E', gave us permission to share some of what has been happening in her work lately, as an encouragement to others.
'I think I have three pieces of “evidence” of Anna Chaplaincy’s effectiveness and impact on people’s lives' she said.
For example, a quote from the printed funeral service pamphlet for a lady called 'M':
“Dementia destroys so many things including one’s faith, for you no longer have any reference points. We were so fortunate to have 'E' from the Anna Chaplains visit regularly. There were some wonderful spiritual moments during those visits. E once asked M if she would like to pray and to our amazement she did- a prayer for one of the grandchildren.”
'I had asked 'M’s' husband what he would like from Anna Chaplaincy. He said a short service followed by tea, cake and a chat would be helpful for both him and 'M' as church services were no longer accessible. He suggested a good time- 10:30 am- so there would be time to get ready beforehand and be back in time to prepare lunch afterwards.
Unfortunately 'M' died before we could put this in place, but in her honour we now have a monthly service run by our two Anna Chaplains with helpers from each of the four denominations in our town but open to all who live with memory loss and their carers. 'K' at 94 years old is our whizz on the computer and produces our posters and Order of Service leaflets and is part of the leadership team.
A second piece of evidence is in an email written to one of our clergy by the daughter of a parishioner after her mum’s death.
“The support the Church has given mum over the last few years has been such a comfort. Please thank 'E' (visiting as an Anna Chaplain) as she has been a rock these last few months when nurses were invisible.”
The daughter was caring for mum at home and it took a while for end-of-life care at home to be put in place, so spiritual help was appreciated by both mum and carer. As a thank you the daughter sent me a beautiful rose, called "It’s a wonderful life", with lovely words in the accompanying card:
“The prayers and candle with their light brought comfort to Mum more than you will ever know and thank you for your kindness and support to me.”
Thirdly, an e-mail from a wellbeing coordinator at one of our local care homes.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the spiritual care that you show to our residents, their families and friends, our staff and carers has a significant impact on everybody’s wellbeing, KCH is so much the better for you all being a part of our daily living in the care home.”
This is a home where Anna Chaplaincy visits fortnightly, to individuals in their rooms, and monthly Communion and Monthly Messy Vintage Church takes place, together with our curate in the downstairs lounge.'
Finally as a postscript, really, 'E' writes:
'A lovely comment from a 92 year old parishioner on my return from holiday; "I’m glad you are back- I feel safer now".'
'E' added, 'I do hope that it doesn’t sound as if one is blowing one’s own trumpet but it is all a reflection of how much Anna Chaplaincy is appreciated.'