Our pioneering ministry and work with older people aims to equip churches to support older people and convey the message that people with dementia and their carers are welcome in our churches
Called Anna Chaplaincy, this ministry aims to equip churches to better support older in their congregations and communities and to ensure their spiritual and pastoral needs are met.
It is called Anna Chaplaincy after the faithful older woman, Anna, who appears with Simeon in Luke’s Gospel.
Anna Chaplaincy varies according to local need and can include:
- one-to-one support and prayer ministry;
- leading care home services;
- supporting dementia activities;
- advocating for people with dementia; and supporting carers.
Working with BRF (formerly The Bible Reading Fellowship), the Diocese's Anna Chaplaincy Lead and Dementia Specialist, Julia Burton-Jones, has been able to establish a network of Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends across the Diocese.
Establishing Anna Chaplaincy in your church
The Diocese has created two ministry roles:
- Anna Chaplain – An appointed and authorised lay or ordained person, sent out under the authority of their church to give spiritual support to older people who are living in care homes and sheltered housing complexes, their relatives and staff who look after them.
- Anna Friend – A trained volunteer giving a few hours to offer support and friendship to older people and their carers to help meet their spiritual needs
They are both rooted in local parishes and are commissioned to work alongside others in pastoral ministry to ensure that older people of strong, little or no faith (including those with dementia) have their spiritual needs met.
In this short film, some of our Anna Chaplaincy talk about their work:
Becoming a dementia-friendly church
A growing number of parishes have established regular activities aimed at those with dementia and their families, from cafes to groups knitting twiddlemuffs, that help calm those with dementia.
Watch this film to find out how our churches are becoming Dementia Friendly Churches. You can also view it on YouTube on download at Vimeo:
Useful documents and links
Check the documents below to find out more about how you can develop your church to be Dementia Friendly, or work with Anna chaplains:
Groups for people with dementia and carers hosted by churches in Rochester Diocese
Anna Chaplaincy Lead and Dementia Specialist