Introduction to Ministry among Older People – the Anna Chaplaincy approach

We are a rapidly ageing population here in the UK, and living longer offers the prospect of going on growing spiritually, as well as raising other emotional, physical and economic issues for the individual. How can we best support older people while celebrating their longevity? It should be a time of life offering a spiritual dividend of wisdom and experience.

Cliff College is focusing on the importance of older people through several courses within the Short Course programme. The ‘Introduction to Ministry among Older People – the Anna Chaplaincy approach’ weekend course is designed for leaders, volunteers and practitioners within the church and community, who have a heart to work with older people. It aims to cover some of the key issues surrounding ageing in the UK, such as the ageing demographic, what is distinctive about the spirituality of ageing, as well as introducing the Anna Chaplaincy approach.

Who is the weekend for?

  • Those engaged in some form of work among older people
  • Those supporting people in their later years
  • Those of us interested in our own ageing process and the changing nature of our spirituality as we get older
  • Those wanting to reflect on their own ministry among older people

Cliff College is delighted to be running this Short Course ‘Introduction to Ministry among Older People – the Anna Chaplaincy’ with our partners The Bible Reading Fellowship, BRF, under the leadership of Debbie Thrower.


Anna Chaplaincy and Debbie Thrower

Debbie Thrower is team leader of The Bible Reading Fellowship’s, The Gift of Years – a programme dedicated to ‘resourcing the spiritual journey of older people’ and expanding the network of Anna Chaplains and their equivalents working ecumenically in communities throughout the UK.  Debbie, a former broadcaster, travels all over Britain opening people’s eyes to the contribution made by older people and outlining ways to support people in their later years; fresh ideas to nurture those living with dementia, and to combat loneliness.

‘Anna Chaplaincy reaches the parts that other priests haven’t reached!’ Member of a club catering for people with disabilities

Hear more about how Anna Chaplaincy began as Debbie Thrower shares her experience:

Course details

The aim of the weekend is to enable attendees to reflect on their practice, as well as learn new skills in this most socially-relevant and pioneering area.  Subjects covered will include:

  • Why bother with old people? The ageing demographic.
  • The theology of ageing and what’s distinctive about our spirituality as we get older?
  • The Anna Chaplaincy approach to spiritual care of men and women in their later years. Why Anna?
  • How can we help the aged not just survive but thrive, and make their fullest contribution for the good of society as a whole?
  • Practical ways of knowing your ‘patch’ and discerning the precise needs of those in your community, plus imaginative means of appealing to the Baby Boomer generation as they become the next Third and Fourth Agers.

From the initial session on Friday evening through to lunchtime on Sunday, participants will be exploring these issues through lecture, seminar and workshop, and together reflecting on the importance of this ministry.

The weekend course is led by Debbie Thrower, the former broadcaster, who now leads the growing national network of Anna Chaplains and those in equivalent roles for The Bible Reading Fellowship, BRF.

The ‘Introduction to Ministry among Older People – the Anna Chaplaincy approach’ weekend course is a useful taster for the week-long Certificate in Ministry among Older People which allows students to go into greater depth of enquiry and study into this important area of ministry and mission. The Certificate in Ministry among Older People (also led by Debbie Thrower, together with other expert adjuncts from across the UK) is next delivered in February 2020.


Evening Meal Friday 18th  – Lunch Sunday 20th September 2020


The cost of £170.00, includes morning and afternoon refreshments, evening meal on Friday, all meals Saturday & breakfast and lunch  Sunday, 2 nights en-suite accommodation, and all teaching materials.

A non refundable deposit of £30 secures your place. The balance of fees should be paid on arrival.

For booking contact: / 01246 584203

Cliff College is a registered charity: No. 529386

Call: +44 (0) 1246 584200

Cliff College, Calver, Hope Valley, Sheffield, S32 3XG

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