Anna Chaplaincy to older people provides a model of empathic listening. Such chaplains, dedicated to promoting the spiritual welfare of people, particularly (though not exclusively) those in residential care, provide a listening ear for people of strong, little or no faith at all. Trust is built through having a regular, visible presence in a community.
Family, friends and volunteers already contribute much to the lives of older people in their locale, but if you want to be a better listener for your loved one or are wondering what you could do to help in your area, you will find ideas and links to spur you into doing what you can (see Resources - Ideas/Stories) as well as some suggestions fur useful starting points for more meaningful conversations to draw people out (see Anna Chaplaincy to Older People - Getting started).
Who can be an Anna Chaplain?
If you are interested in becoming an Anna Chaplain, it is a ministry open to lay or ordained men and women. Candidates should be of good standing within their own denomination and have demonstrable listening skills, be competent to preach, teach and lead worship, have some recognised training already within their own tradition, as well as exhibit a willingness to go on learning. An awareness of the importance of sacramental ministry and engaging with it, and an ability to be flexible when devising liturgy for those with widely differing cognitive abilities, is also essential.
Good communication skills, because of the advocacy dimension to the role, are also highly desirable. Newly appointed Anna Chaplains might choose to enhance their qualifications by enrolling on one of the many other training courses available pertinent to this area of ministry - for example, pastoral care of the terminally ill, working with people living with a mental illness, the spirituality of dementia, funeral ministry, and so on.
If you feel you have a calling, a discernible vocation, to this form of ministry and would like to explore it further, we could help you think through what the opportunities might be - Get in touch.