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  • Debbie Thrower

We welcome the first Anna Chaplain in Scotland!

Updated: Apr 6


For several years we have had one, then two network members in Scotland – Kathryn Sanderson (Nairn) and Susan Kirkbride (Orkney) – who minister among older people in their communities. We are now delighted to welcome Angela Brydson as our first Anna Chaplain. She was commissioned at the weekend in Upper Clydesdale, South Lanarkshire, and explains what brought her to this point:


‘I am a Church of Scotland deacon and for the majority of my life have had older people in my life who have taught me so much about life and the things which are really important.

One of the things they have taught me is that getting older isn’t to be feared, it is to be embraced and to enjoy the freedom that comes with age.


In a society where youth is continually pushed and revered, and ageing is seen as a negative thing we are doing a disservice to the treasure that is older people in our communities. Sadly, the church can also be guilty of this as it continually seeks “young families”.


This is the wonderful gift that Anna Chaplaincy can bring to communities and churches, the space to celebrate age and wisdom. Grey hair and wrinkles are badges of honour, they show a life lived in the good and bad times. Some, including several of my own family, never had the chance to reach that stage of life.


Throughout my training for the diaconate, I kept hearing about BRF’s The Gift of Years before it was relaunched simply as “Anna Chaplaincy”, and I modelled a lot of my early ministry on its principles. In fact, one of the reasons I applied for the post I am now doing in Lanarkshire was because of Anna Chaplaincy. The minister I spoke with, Revd George Shand, was really keen to explore Anna Chaplaincy and I was delighted to be involved in looking into it further.


I am SO excited to begin this chaplaincy, to see where God takes us and also to help encourage others to explore the possibilities for their own churches and communities.


Throughout the months since I completed my online training, I have been really grateful to Katherine Froggatt (Anna Chaplaincy Lead in Cumbria) and the Cumbria Anna Chaplains for their friendship and support.


My commissioning service on Saturday 2 April was really special, with people participating from each of the parishes I currently serve, as well as one of our comoderators of Presbytery, Jim Watt. The message given by Revd Dr Nikki Macdonald was about the joy of new things starting in a time of change for the church.’

From back row, left to right: Jim Watt (comoderator of Clydesdale and Forth Valley Presbytery), Denham Macdougall (Interim moderator Douglas Valley), Revd Dr Nikki Macdonald (line manager for Anna Chaplain), Rosmairi Galloway (session clerk Cairngryffe Church), Angela Brydson DCS, Andy Robinson (session clerk Douglas Valley), and Revd George Shand (retired minister Tinto parishes).

Do join our webinar tomorrow (Wednesday 6 April), held jointly with Edinburgh-based charity, Faith in Older People, to explore ways to develop Anna Chaplaincy more widely in Scotland, especially if you are interested in becoming an Anna Chaplain yourself. This chaplaincy is open to lay and ordained men and women. To book a free place for the 90-minute Zoom from 4.30 pm, go to our events page.


 




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