Commissioning of Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends

24 Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends were commissioned by Bishop James at Watling Court in Gravesend on the 11 April. They will work with elderly people and people with dementia in the community around the diocese of Rochester.

The service was led by Julia Burton-Jones, Dementia Specialist Project Officer and Rev Ann Richardson, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Twydall, area Dean of Gillingham and Chair of the Project Steering Group for Anna Chaplaincy.

Angela Scott, Anna Chaplain read a very moving poem/prayer “I’m Bewildered” she wrote to her mum who had dementia. Both Debbie Thrower (who was the first Anna Chaplain) and Alex Burn from Bible Reading Fellowship’s The Gift of Years were present.

Anna Chaplaincy was launched in Rochester Diocese in late 2016 through funding provided by The Henry Smith Charity. The diocese now has a team of volunteers supported by a dementia specialist project officer. Many members of the team have personal experiences of dementia in their families or professional lives, several in ordained or licenced lay ministry roles. They cover 20 parishes in 13 deaneries.

The difference between Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends is that Chaplains are in leadership roles, supporting other volunteers and spending at least one day a week in the role. Anna Friends spend several hours a week working with people with dementia but have fewer responsibilities. Both roles are voluntary.

Anna Chaplains commissioned on a day were:

  • Christine Bostock
  • Rev Anne Bourne
  • Julia Crathorn
  • Margaret Hollands
  • Diana Pattison
  • Angela Scott
  • John Tootell
  • Judith West

Anna Friends commissioned on the day were:

  • Annie Ho Cooper
  • Jenny Cuthbert (unable to attend)
  • Ken Gale
  • Jennifer Giles
  • Sarah Griffiths
  • Shirley Hayes (unable to attend)
  • Gillian Holt
  • Jean Hook
  • John Kahan
  • Lorna Kahan
  • Ian Milton
  • Carole Morrad
  • John Portman
  • Jennie Spalding
  • Chris Thorogood (unable to attend)
  • Wendy Willson

If you would like to find out about Anna Chaplaincy in your area, or are interested in exploring being an Anna Friend or Anna Chaplain, please contact Julia Burton-Jones, Dementia Specialist Project Officer at

For more information about Bible Reading Fellowship’s The Gift of Years and Anna Chaplaincy visit the website

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