What is an Anna Chaplain?
In the last couple of years joint meetings of stewards from HRMC and MRMC have identified a number of ways in which the churches could work together, particularly in mission to our local community. Last year it was decided to work towards employing two lay workers: a children and families worker and an Anna Chaplain to support older people.
Last November Rosemary Fletcher, Jenny Elvers and Denise Willingham attended an excellent information evening about the work of an Anna Chaplain. On reporting back to our stewards and church councils, permission was given to pursue such an appointment in our churches.
The name is taken from Anna, the faithful widow who appears in the second chapter of Luke’s Gospel. The name ‘Anna’ means ‘grace’ and an Anna Chaplain can be seen as a gracious gift from the church to older people in the community.
An Anna Chaplain is lay or ordained person who helps churches support the spiritual needs of older people wherever they may be: in residential care, in congregations, in their own homes and in the community. Such a chaplaincy is an ecumenical appointment and makes no distinction between those of strong, little or no faith. The chaplain may be supported in their work by a team of ‘Anna Friends’ who may assist in visiting and listening to older folk.
The work celebrates the blessings of long life but also recognises the challenges which it can bring. It helps churches to recognise the needs and potential of older people in congregations and in the wider community. The chaplain would work alongside existing groups at HRMC, MRMC and St Peter’s as well as helping to develop new groups in the churches and the local community.
The model of an Anna Chaplaincy is well established and the work is well resourced and supported by ‘The Gift of Years’ which is part of the Bible Reading Fellowship. An excellent summary of the work can be found on the link below. The presenter is Debbie Thrower who spoke at the meeting attended last November.
For more information please speak to Andrew, Rosemary, Jenny or Denise.