Anna Chaplaincy is a ministry of the Christian charity Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) which has been expressly established to provide care for older people. Anna Chaplains particularly focus on older people living in care homes and sheltered accommodation, as well as the families and staff that look after them. For older people living independently in the wider community, Anna Chaplains work to promote their spiritual welfare, especially those facing particular challenges.
Anna Chaplains are named after the older prophetess Anna who appears in Luke’s gospel alongside Simeon who is also strong in faith and spirit. Anna Chaplaincy aims to encourage older people to grow in their spiritual lives, and Anna Chaplains are there for people of strong, little or no faith at all.
What Does an Anna Chaplain Do?
An Anna Chaplain is appointed by, and authorised by, their local church or benefice. This means that they will have support themselves, and supervision from others in the church community.
Within different regions, there may be some subtle differences in how Anna Chaplains approach their work, but essentially there are two main responsibilities of an Anna Chaplain. Firstly, they are entrusted to offer spiritual support to older people living in care homes and sheltered housing, along with their staff and relatives. Secondly, an Anna Chaplain promotes the spiritual welfare of older people in the wider community, particularly those who find living independently challenging.
How Does This Work in Practice?
As part of their role, an Anna Chaplain would need to become a part of the local church community. This includes attending meetings and collaborating with the ministry team, connecting with other local Anna Chaplains, and contributing to the worship of local churches, drawing on their experiences with older people and discussing themes around aging and faith. In addition to this, Anna Chaplains must keep up to date with current thinking on the spiritualty of ageing and attend training courses to continue developing their skills.
Who Can Become an Anna Chaplain?
An Anna Chaplain can be male or female, lay or ordained. The key thing is that they are someone recognised by their church as having the necessary skills and qualities for this type of ministry. For example, they should have outstanding pastoral skills, be a good listener, and be able to reflect theologically on ministry.
An Anna Chaplain should furthermore be happy to be an approachable and visible presence and understand that they are an advocate in their role. Anyone engaged in ministry as an Anna Chaplain will also need to hold an enhanced DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) disclosure, as well as adhere to the safeguarding policies of the church that has authorised them.
Caraway is a local initiative which celebrates the richness and wisdom of old age, promoting the spiritual wellbeing of older people in Southampton. Working together with the local church, social and health care sectors, Caraway seeks to:
- Combat loneliness
- Create community
- Support those living in care homes and assisted living
- Address the needs of those living with dementia, along with their carers
This is a citywide initiative to encourage and resource local churches and communities to connect more widely with the older population across Southampton.
Established in 2018 by Reverend Erica Roberts, this active community charity aims to tackle loneliness, support those living with dementia and bring joy through growing community.