As more churches seek to respond to the challenges of a rapidly ageing population, The Gift of Years signposts ways in which our later years can be more spiritually fertile ones, and infinitely more fulfilling.
By highlighting different perspectives on older age, we hope you will find much here to intrigue and inspire you. We are, unashamedly, focusing on what there is to give thanks for in older age. But that is not to say we don't recognise the real fears there are around ageing.
If we could be persuaded to see life as more of a gift, and less of a life sentence, we might be better placed to embrace whatever comes our way. Growing older involves change but this doesn't have to be fraught with anxiety.
Growing old is like being increasingly penalised for a crime you haven't committed.
To regard ageing as more of a voyage of discovery, we need to be equipped, and we hope you will find a range of relevant resources here. For example, we offer the practical approach of Anna Chaplaincy - a tried-and-tested, community-based, ministry among older people. Anna Chaplains draw alongside people of strong, little or no faith at all.
What we offer
As well as BRF's own books, The Gift of Years DVD , The Gift of Years newsletter and The Gift of Years Bible Reflections for Older People , and details of BRF's Quiet Days and other events (see News & Events ), we feature many different resources from others who are also working in this growing field (see Resources ).
Whether you are someone who is curious about how to face this new phase in your life, or a carer seeking support for yourself, or a relative or friend (see For individuals ), or a church leader intent on improving ministry among older people (see For churches ), The Gift of Years sets out practical pathways (see Anna Chaplaincy to Older People ).
This site aims to be relevant and topical - one that brings you news of the latest thinking and research, and one that you can contribute to through your own experiences and recommendations (see Contact us ).
Throughout the pages you will find video clips to watch from The Gift of Years DVD , filmed in Alton in 2010, showing the Anna Chaplaincy approach in action. You will also find interview clips of Debbie Thrower in conversation with Sue Radford in 2014 about various aspects of The Gift of Years.
We highlight examples of good work in combating loneliness, of innovative projects, different events, courses and a myriad of other ways to inspire people to celebrate their own ageing and that of other people around them (see Resources - Ideas/Stories ).
We want to share with you examples of some of the great work that is already happening (but often in too few isolated pockets) in order to stimulate more companionship, creativity, laughter and deeper reflection among older people at every age and stage of later life.
The Gift of Years is based on the conviction that older age can prove an intensely fertile time of our life, spiritually.