My journey

Published on: 9 March 2022

I feel very privileged to be a participant on the Anna Chaplain Training Course and am grateful for our PCC’s support and blessing.

The aim of this course is to explore Anna Chaplaincy for Older People, its origins, its development and some of the ways that Anna Chaplains practice. It also aims to further our understanding of what Anna Chaplaincy offers and how this ministry contributes to the church’s mission and ministry.

Topics explored were: Introducing Anna Chaplaincy; Living the second half of life; The spirituality of ageing; Spiritual care for people living with dementia; Chaplaincy skills in working with older people; Looking forward – the next steps.

Anna Chaplaincy is a model of ministry that encompasses all that promotes the value and worth of older people. It takes place wherever people are, the focus being to offer spiritual care and support. It is an ecumenical and church/communitybased ministry, is person-centred, non-judgemental and for people of faith or no faith at all.

Spiritual care may express itself in helping people to reflect on their life’s journey, the joys, sorrows and difficulties. Our role is to build relationship and trust with people, to walk alongside them, to listen attentively to their thoughts and feelings, and to allow them to tell their stories.

We looked at the ways in which spiritual care can be adapted to include people with dementia, and how to practically ensure that our churches are accessible for older people, taking into account their needs and disabilities. There is a case to be made for providing people with dementia with opportunities to grow in their faith.

We spent a session on listening and conversation skills which looked at what qualities, attitudes and techniques make for effective listening, and what the blocks are to good listening.

I found the course enormously valuable and look forward to implementing what I have learnt in my ministry. I will be line managed by my Vicar and supported by a designated supervisor. The first task is for a Working Agreement to be drawn up and to discover where the gaps in supporting older people are.

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