More Chaplains and Friends licensed to work with those with dementia

The Diocese's pioneering work supporting those with dementia and in the later years of life, Anna Chaplaincy, has welcomed another 10 Chaplains and Friends into its ranks.

The ministry takes it name from the faithful older Bible character in the second chapter of Luke’s gospel, Anna.

Anna is recorded as being 84, and to have been widowed for many decades. She speaks of redemption to all who will listen.

Four Anna Chaplains and six Anna Friends were commissioned at a summer ceremony in the garden of Bishopscourt, the Bishop's official residence.

During the service, Bishop James Langstaff said:

"The role of Anna Friends and Chaplains requires sensitivity, discretion and patient love. Do you promise to carry out your duties with due understanding for people, and with courage to advocate on behalf of those left in the silent places of this world?'

To which they all replied: 'With the help of God, I will.'

As part of the event, Dementia Specialist Project Officer and Anna Chaplaincy Lead for Rochester, Julia Burton-Jones, spoke about the growth of the ministry the Diocese, which with this licensing, now has 21 Anna Chaplains and 34 Anna Friends working across the Diocese.

Local poet Elizabeth Miller, also read extracts from her collection of poems Penumbra: Poems about dementia, The poems are inspired by her own experience of caring for her mother with dementia.

The licensing came just before a motion and discussion about Anna Chaplaincy at General Synod in June.

Synod heard about the work taking place in Rochester Diocese and was asked to request that all dioceses raise the profile of work with those diagnosed with dementia and their carers. 


Those commissioned as Anna Chaplains at the service in Rochester were:

  • Revd Elizabeth Robertson – Rural North West Kent group of churches
  • Jane Sankey – St Mary the Virgin, Platt
  • Jo Ellard – Christ Church, Bexleyheath
  • Richard Percival – Christ Church, Bexleyheath

Those commissioned as Anna Friends were:

  • Annette Morgan – Rochester Cathedral
  • Maureen Cannon – South Gillingham benefice
  • Jean Wilson – St Stephen’s Tonbridge
  • Beryl Coster – Stansted with Fairseat and Vigo benefice
  • Stephanie Ross - Christ Church Bexleyheath
  • Jane Linington - Christ Church Bexleyheath

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