Anna Chaplaincy is a ministry aimed at equipping churches to pastorally and spiritually support their older church members and communities.
It is called Anna Chaplaincy after the faithful older woman, Anna, who appears with Simeon in Luke’s Gospel.
The main purposes of an Anna Chaplain are:
- Offering spiritual support to older people who are living in care homes and sheltered housing complexes, their relatives and staff who look after them
- Promoting the spiritual welfare of older people in the wider community, particularly those facing challenges living independently.
I was commissioned as an Anna Chaplain on 28th November 2021 by Bishop Richard at St Mary Magdalene Church in Bridgnorth. It is an absolute honour to be an Anna Chaplin I love working in the community with people of all faiths and sometimes no faith at all. I mainly but not exclusively work with older people; some of the things I have learned and experienced are also informing and benefitting me as I make my own journey into old age. Relationship is at the heart of all that I do, it is from my relationship with God that everything else flows, my faith in and love for Him, and His love for me and His presence in my life keeps me grounded, energised and focused, I couldn’t do what I do without Him.
I have been asked what are the challenges and joys of the job, well to be honest the answer to both is often the same, “people”. To get to know people and be known and accepted by them is a joy and a real privilege, there is often laughter and sometimes tears. Part of my role is as an advocate for those who have no voice or who are being overlooked, it is this aspect of my work that I have found the most challenging. When I can see that intervention in a particular situation is needed and would be beneficial it is difficult sometimes to have to acknowledge and accept that help may not come soon enough if indeed it comes at all and that can be heart breaking and there have in my private moments with God been both anger and tears. Yet I believe I am called not to judge but to love and thus far God has given me the strength I need in each and every situation. I am by no means perfect as anyone who knows me can attest to yet I hold to Phillipians 4:13, that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. By God’s grace and by turning to Jesus and having him at the centre of it all I have been able to do things I never thought possible and get through situations I wish I had not had to deal with. God is good.
The Anna Chaplaincy Prayer
Faithful God, you have promised in Christ to be with us to the end of time. Come close to those who have lived long and experienced much. Help them to continue to be faithful and, within the all-age kingdom of God, to find ways to go on giving and receiving your grace, day by day. For your glory and your kingdom.