More than 80 people from across southern England came to be inspired and equipped for their work among older people as network member Erica Roberts held another successful annual conference. Read more in the Caraway newsletter.
This year’s Refresh and Resource conference 2019 took the theme ‘Standing at the Crossroads’, for its conference falling in Lent and commemoration of events leading to the cross just ten days before Easter.
Donald and Harriet Mowat, Erica Roberts and Debbie Thrower
Former The Gift of Years Advisory Group member Harriet Mowat, and her husband Donald, were the keynote speakers and fielded questions for a panel which included Debbie and the Anna Chaplaincy lead in Kent, Julia Burton-Jones.
The Mowats co-authored the BRF book The Freedom of Years: Ageing in perspective (BRF 2018), and are a retired sociologist and old-age psychiatrist respectively. Harriet set out why good spiritual care underpins all other care because it places the fact that each person is valuable at the very centre of all that is done.
Using scraps of material and art and poetry, delegates were encouraged to think about their own crossroads experiences in their lives and to view ageing as a process of reconciliation – with ourselves as much as with others.
It was an opportunity for members of the network to meet and exchange news and views, and to meet others equally passionate about ministry among older people.
For example, there was news of Communicare in Southampton, a charity pioneering the ‘Homecoming Project’ which helps people returning from hospital to access the kind of good neighbourly support which isn’t always available as a matter of course, especially in big cities.
Since last summer 40 people have been helped to transition from hospital to home with the kind of help which doesn’t involve personal care but does extend to shopping, providing hot drinks, friendly conversation and generally ‘keeping an eye’ on someone at a vulnerable time.
Ripon College, Cuddesdon
Erica Roberts has also delivered a session looking at Anna Chaplaincy for Ordinands at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, as part of their Ageing and Spirituality Module in their spring term.