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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Spiritual care in practice – read about Anna Chaplain, Gill Thompson


It was the experience of accompanying her own mother during her later years that drew Anna Chaplain Gill Thompson to her current work.


Her moving article published on the BRF website gives an excellent introduction to what spiritual care actually looks like on the ground.


Here's a brief extract:


'Whatever the route and reasons that have brought people into this new situation, an Anna Chaplain can provide a friendly face, a listening ear and a sunny smile. In doing so they reflect God’s love to those in their care and surround them with his peace. Helping people to see God, helping them realise that he is there with them, is incredibly important.


'The day Betty (name changed) moved into the care home, it was evident that she was not happy. She was determined to find fault and railed against the routine and order of the home. I spent many weeks getting to know her, trying to bring some sunshine into her gloomy outlook on life. She eventually admitted to me that she was angry with her children for selling the family home and 'rushing' her into the care home, just a few months after her husband had died. She now felt cut off from all that was familiar, miles from her friends and church and with nothing to do.


'Anna Chaplains reflect God's love to those in their care and surround them with his peace.'

'But gradually, with help and support, Betty has made some new friends within the home and has realised that her family were just trying to care for her in the best way they knew how. She has begun to join in activities, and this year, at the end of the Lent fellowship group, she asked me to help her pray and to forgive her children. Like Naomi at the end of the story, Betty's faith in God was restored.

'I am no one special, just a daughter who cared for her mother, and someone who has been led by God to reach out to other older people in my community.


'Despite being a different age to those I seek to support as an Anna Chaplain, by listening, respecting, caring and reflecting God's love, I hope to enable God to bring about restoration, healing and hope.'


 

After completing the Cliff College certificate in ministry among older people as well as pastoral counselling, funeral ministry, preaching and dementia care courses, Gill Thompson was commissioned as Oxfordshire’s first Anna Chaplain in August 2020. She serves in the rural Ridgeway benefice made up of six villages nestled beneath the Ridgeway, in the south of the county. Within the benefice is a large retirement village with approximately 300 residents ranging from those who are independent to others who need 24-hour care due to frailty or dementia.

 




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