Anna Chaplaincy came about through a local willingness among Christians in the Hampshire market town of Alton. Working together, they recognised that more should be done for older people. A job specification was drawn up and a half-stipend post (20 hours/week) was advertised as a part-time chaplain to older people.
Debbie Thrower was appointed in January 2010 and the role was carved out from scratch. Following secured funding from an alternative source, the work evolved into Anna Chaplaincy – Debbie Thrower was the UK’s first Anna Chaplain and she has developed the blueprint.
Since 2014, the Anna Chaplaincy approach has been at the heart of BRF’s The Gift of Years initiative to resource the spiritual journey of older people. It is being offered more widely as a proven way for other churches to cherish the gifts of older people in their membership, and to develop their service among this age group, and their mission to those marginalised and spiritually impoverished in later life.
Anna Chaplaincy is now a tried-and-tested model with the potential to spread far and wide as it begins to be replicated elsewhere, and as churches and individuals, whether they live in a city, town or rural context, are increasingly asking whether Anna Chaplaincy might work in their context.
Check out this powerful video clip we watched at the conference on how this project can help in your community: