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Training and support: Resourcing churches’ spiritual care for older people 2023

Anna Chaplaincy is BRF’s ministry resourcing the spiritual journey of older people. It provides training and support for churches and for those called to be Anna Chaplains and their volunteer teams. Its publications on later life ministry are helpful for the wider church community.

Training and support to introduce Anna Chaplaincy

Responding to enquiries: BRF works with individuals and churches exploring if Anna Chaplaincy is the right approach to supporting older people in their context. A 90-minute Zoom, ‘Introduction to Anna Chaplaincy’, is held every ten weeks; it is led by Anna Chaplaincy pioneer Debbie Thrower and other team members contribute. It is an opportunity to hear about the model and ask questions. Follow-up meetings are then held on Zoom with teams in local settings to explore further and build towards launching Anna Chaplaincy. No charge is currently made for this support.

Online course for new Anna Chaplains: a Zoom training course for new Anna Chaplains happens over six two-hour sessions, with the Anna Chaplaincy Handbook as essential reading. Trainers are subject specialists, and groups of no more than 14 allow for interaction; guest Anna Chaplains also contribute. Five programmes are running in 2023 and the current cost is £90, plus £25 (and £3 P&P) for the Handbook.

Learners who completed the course in 2022 said:

‘I found it valuable and a good springboard to ministry; good to know I’m not on my own.’

‘The course was knowledgeably and sympathetically presented.’

‘Thank you so much for this wonderful course and all it represents.’

Bespoke in-person training courses: in-person courses are currently charged at a daily rate of £320 plus travel costs, on weekdays for a group of 16 learners.

To learn more about the training and support BRF offers, please email

Ongoing learning and support for Anna Chaplains and their teams

Themed workshops on Zoom: BRF offers free online workshops for Anna Chaplains and their teams. Half-day themed workshops in 2023 will be held in March, May, July, September and November. These sessions are free of charge and focus on relevant topics: care home ministry; including people with dementia in worship; end-of-life spiritual care; boundaries and self-care; prayer ministry.

A participant who attended a 2022 workshop on end-of-life spiritual care said:

‘Thank you for the workshop yesterday. It was really helpful, and I feel more relaxed now about spending time with older people who are at the end of life than I was before.’

Zoom get-togethers for Anna Chaplains: Anna Chaplains join with the national Anna Chaplaincy team three times a year for worship and to share news. (A weekday morning, afternoon or evening is offered each time.)


Annual Gathering and overnight retreats for Anna Chaplains: Anna Chaplains are invited to an Annual Gathering in the autumn. This is a celebration of all that is happening in and through Anna Chaplaincy. Pre-pandemic this was held at Christian conference centres, but it moved online from 2020 to 2022. In 2023, it will once again be held in person. Overnight retreats entitled ‘Martha’s Day Off’ led by skilled facilitators are also held at retreat centres across the UK to enable Anna Chaplains to spend time with others in the network. Events are charged at variable rates.

To find out about learning and support for Anna Chaplains and their teams, please email

Training for anyone with an interest in spiritual care in later life

Spiritual Care Series: in 2022, BRF launched the Spiritual Care Series; an eight-session course for pastoral carers and those interested in spiritual care in later life – Options for taking the course include:

  • Purchasing a bundle for a group of six learners costing £360, with licences and participant guides for extra learners priced at £60 each.

  • Joining a programme on Zoom, run by an Anna Chaplaincy trainer at a cost of £170 per learner (courses offered at regular intervals).

Resources for churches on spiritual care amongst older people

Free online resources: 

  • Debbie Thrower’s blog with current news and reflections –

  • Grief Conversations booklet on grief and loss –

  • Anna Chaplaincy ‘Easy Guides’ available to download –

    • ‘Easy Guides’ are published on useful topics such as ‘Running a holiday at home’, ‘Linking care homes and local schools’ and ‘Running Messy Vintage in community settings’. Written by those involved in Anna Chaplaincy, they are peer-reviewed and regularly updated.

BRF publishes Bible Reflections for Older People three times a year, as well as having other books aimed at those in ministry with older people –

As a charity, BRF ministries are reliant upon donations and gifts in wills to deliver Anna Chaplaincy, Living Faith, Messy Church and Parenting for Faith. Where Anna Chaplaincy resources and online events are offered free of charge, this is thanks to the generosity of others. If you’ve benefited from our work, please help us to make it possible for more people to do the same by making a one-off or monthly gift at

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