We want to see:
the pastoral needs of older people being given much greater recognition nationally and locally
Anna Chaplains to be working in communities all over the country
Anna Chaplaincy to be promoting standards of excellence in the spiritual care of all older people.
Increasingly, many older people are feeling that they are beyond the interest and concern of their wider community and even, sometimes, their church. There is a growing focus on youth and young families, to the extent that being an older person can be isolating as well as challenging.
Anna Chaplaincy seeks to accompany older people at this age and stage of their lives. It is an ecumenical, community-based, chaplaincy promoting the spiritual welfare of older people. Anna Chaplaincy is a person-centred and non-judgemental ministry for people of strong, little or no faith at all.
It involves visiting older people wherever they may be living, whether in residential and nursing homes, sheltered housing, retirement complexes or other private homes. The emphasis is on spiritual support but, clearly, people’s practical struggles will also play a part in their overall well-being.
Such a focus on spiritual care may express itself in helping people to reflect on their life’s journey – both the joys and the sorrows – and, where appropriate, enabling the healing of memories and the celebration of life experiences to foster more hope and resilience.
An Anna Chaplain also has a wider role within the community as an advocate and a champion of the contribution older people make to society. They may enable cross-generational encounters in the church and wider community for the benefit of people of all ages.
Spiritual support provided in a gentle and loving way brings comfort and succour to people who may be at a low point in their lives. It enables older people to live with greater meaning and purpose. Finding some peace in their later years, they may be better prepared to face the end of their earthly lives.
Some of those who become Anna Chaplains, or Anna Friends, are themselves post-retirement and discover new meaning and impetus through drawing alongside others in this way.
The chaplaincy is intended to complement and run alongside, rather than replicating or replacing, ministry already being done by churches.
What we offer
The Anna Chaplaincy Handbook – a comprehensive training manual
Anna Chaplaincy in Rochester Diocese – a blueprint for other dioceses across the UK
Training programmes to increase spiritual care services
Resources around later life and dementia
Messy Vintage – an inclusive and creative approach to church for older people