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Last updated 15th December 2023

Anna Chaplaincy

Introduction

Anna Chaplaincy, founded by Debbie Thrower,  is a rapidly growing ministry which comes under the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) umbrella.  BRF has four distinct ministries: Messy Church, Parenting for Faith, Living Faith and Anna Chaplaincy

Anna Chaplaincy is named after the widow, Anna, who appears with Simeon in Luke’s gospel; both are good role models of faithful older people.  It is an accompanying, person-centred ministry of spiritual care for older people of all faiths, cultures, spiritualities and contexts, and for their families and carers.  Anna Chaplaincy also offers advocacy for older people within church and community.   Anna Chaplaincy works with people living independently in their own homes, in sheltered housing and retirement complexes and in residential and nursing homes.  The ministry is founded in prayer. 

Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends may be members of any Christian denomination.  They may be lay or ordained, paid or honorary.  They must be recognised by their churches as having the necessary qualities and training for Anna Chaplaincy ministry.  All Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends have a ministry specification which includes details of their line management and supervision from the local church.  They are safely recruited, hold an enhanced DBS and are trained in safeguarding.   

Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends become members of the Anna Chaplaincy network and meet regularly for training and updates on Zoom.  Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends are commissioned for five years and this may be renewed by mutual agreement.  Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends and their churches will, at all times, serve within the principles, guidelines and ethos of Anna Chaplaincy. 

“Anna Chaplaincy is outward facing, community based, focused on older people continuing to contribute and that they matter and are not ignored.  It is present and available for everyone.  Anna Chaplains have spiritual conversations about how to finish well, successful ageing and end of life.  It’s a ministry of accompaniment and journeying with people.  A Chaplain’s presence normalises conversations and complements existing pastoral care.  Since 2014 there are now over 300 Anna Chaplains, mainly in the  CofE but also in every other denomination.  There is rigorous discernment for Anna Chaplaincy, and with the incumbent’s agreement, good standing in the local church, full safeguarding training  and DBS checks.  Approval is through the PCC and the National BRF team.” 

Debbie Ducille, Ministry Lead, Anna Chaplaincy 

Why is Blackburn Diocese getting on board with this initiative? 

Blackburn Diocese recognises that the spiritual and accompaniment needs of our older generation are really important, and this is one way of helping to meet these needs.  We already have 4 Anna Chaplains in the Diocese, whose parishes have signed up to a direct license agreement with Anna Chaplaincy.   Blackburn Diocese has now secured a Head License agreement with Anna Chaplaincy, which means we can offer the opportunity for parishes to have a sublicense under the Diocesan Head License agreement.    This initiative meets our vision criterion of Being Witnesses.  We are encouraged that Anna Chaplaincy is already well established with excellent training, accountability and safeguarding in place.

Who is going to be responsible for co-ordinating this work? 

We have appointed Katherine Froggatt, an ALM in our Diocese, who also carries out training for Anna Chaplaincy nationally, to co-ordinate Anna Chaplaincy in our diocese, working alongside the Warden of Lay Ministry and the Growing Leaders team.  She will act as a first point of contact and provide information to anyone interested in the work of Anna Chaplaincy, and support individuals to discern their calling to Anna Chaplaincy in conjunction with their church leadership and the Growing Leaders team.  Katherine will identify initial and ongoing training needs for Anna Chaplains and signpost to appropriate sources of training. 

Where can I learn a bit more about the history of Anna Chaplaincy?

Go to the Anna Chaplaincy website which will inspire you with information and stories from Anna Chaplains and Friends.  

Is there a role description for Anna Chaplains? 

Please click here to find a role description. 

I want to explore this further, what do I do? 

First, pray!  Seek God about whether this is a ministry for you. 

Next, talk to your incumbent.  If they haven’t heard of Anna Chaplaincy, then direct them to this page on the Diocesan website, and the Anna Chaplaincy websiteYou need the agreement and support of your incumbent to go ahead with Anna Chaplaincy. 

The next steps for recruitment are shown in this link to Anna chaplaincy recruitment steps.  Please make sure you have read this – the first of these steps is to email our Anna Chaplaincy co-ordinator, Katherine Froggatt and let her know that you are interested in taking exploration of Anna Chaplaincy forward. 

Where do I find the application form? 

The application stage is stage 5 in the recruitment steps and an application form will be sent out to you by Katherine Froggatt (after your initial conversation with her).

The Blackburn Authorised Lay Ministry (ALM) elective on 'Later Life' takes place across three day sessions (in February and March 2023).  Anyone who has completed/completes this elective will only need to participate in a morning’s top up training.   This training is free, and you are invited to complete the core ALM module as well, to become an Authorised Lay Minister in Blackburn Diocese as well as an Anna Chaplain.  Although the core module is not compulsory, we encourage everyone to sign up for this module, which has had excellent feedback.   To sign up for the Later Life elective, please email Abi Saunders to register your details. To sign up for the elective and core module - you will need to complete the following application form with your incumbent.

You can also sign up at various times in the year for online training with Anna Chaplaincy instead of completing the ALM elective.  However, this will cost your parish £90. 

Everyone is expected to have their own Anna Chaplaincy handbook, £25.00.  We would expect this cost to be met by the parish.   

Is there ongoing training and support? 

Firstly, we would expect you to have support from your incumbent and line manager (if different).   There are regular zoom meetings for Diocesan Anna Chaplains, as well as national Continuous Ministerial Development from Anna Chaplaincy nationally.  There is an annual Anna Chaplaincy gathering.  The co-ordinator is also available to give one to one support as required. 

The Diocese of Blackburn is affiliated to Anna Chaplaincy.  The Anna Chaplaincy® name and logo are registered trade  marks of Bible Reading Fellowship, a charity (233280) and  company limited by guarantee (301324), registered  in England and Wales. brf.org.uk