Action Zones 

The Rockin' Rev October 2021


Meeting the needs of older people


These days there seems to be a day for everything. For example, there’s “International Lego Day” (28th January), “World Water Day” (22nd March), National Pet Day-UK (11th April), and “International Chocolate Day (13th September), to name but a few

In addition, the United Nations’ “International Day for Older Persons” is observed each year on 1st October. So perhaps October is a good month to think about meeting the needs of older people in the church and in the wider community

Increasingly, many older people are feeling that they are beyond the interest and concern of their wider community and even, sometimes, their church. Many churches employ children’s workers or youth leaders – but how many have appointed people to minister specifically to the older people in their congregation and beyond?
It recently came to my attention that in St Albans, north of London, two Methodist churches have joined together to recruit an ‘Anna Chaplain’ to help meet the needs of seniors in local church congregations and beyond. The new role is part of a growing network of Anna Chaplains, named after Anna, who appears in Luke’s gospel. She was an elderly widow who, together with Simeon, recognised the baby Jesus as the Messiah and the fulfilment of God’s promises

The work of “Anna Chaplains” includes ministry in care homes and other settings where older people live or gather.
The development of “Anna Chaplaincy” comes as charities that work with older people have published research which shows how badly the pandemic has impacted those aged 60 and above and has raised questions about how well they will ‘bounce back’ after Covid-19

Age UK has called on the Government to give the NHS and social care services extra resources to help older people make the best possible recovery. With coronavirus now hopefully in retreat in the UK, the charity has also appealed to the wider public to keep supporting the older people in their lives

Against this background, Maggie Dodd, the first Anna Chaplain in Hertfordshire, explained: “Our vision is that older people are cherished and supported within their church communities, and beyond, in the wider community. Often you have people who used to attend church, and they’ve become a little more frail and not able to attend or they’ve moved to a care home or sheltered housing, and they just lose touch with what’s going on. They’re not able to take themselves to church anymore”

I would like to think that St Andrew’s Church takes meeting the needs of older people seriously and is prepared to explore ways we might do more widely and more effectively


Rev Brian Hall

Vicar, St Andrew’s Church


also published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine


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