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A time to love and a time to hope

Debbie Thrower introduces the Anna Chaplaincy with prayers for the elderly

A time to love and a time to hope ADRIAN SERECUT AND CHANNA RONGSDS

IT’S ALMOST TEN YEARS since we devised the concept of a chaplaincy specifically to support people in their old age. I was recruited to develop a model for community-based, ecumenical, chaplaincy in Alton, Hampshire, in 2010.

The ministry proved so popular, timely and much needed that soon people wanted to shadow me to find out what’s so distinctive about Anna Chaplaincy. In 2014 The Bible Reading Fellowship took it on, and I began working full-time to propagate such chaplaincies across the country. There are now over 90 Anna Chaplains and others in equivalent roles, representing almost every region of the UK. Why Anna? It’s a simple name to say and spell, and means “grace”. It comes from the story of Simeon and Anna in chapter 2 of Luke’s gospel. It’s a potent story of faithful older people quietly and expectantly waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promise – and of their own transformation during that waiting.

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