Offering spiritual care in later life

Anna Chaplains are named after the widow, Anna, who appears with Simeon in Luke’s gospel; both are good role models of faithful older people.

Anna Chaplaincy seeks to accompany older people at this age and stage of their lives. It is a non-denominational, community-based chaplaincy which promotes the spiritual welfare of older people. Anna Chaplaincy is person-centred and non-judgemental, suitable for everyone, whether they are of strong, little or no faith at all.

It involves visiting older people wherever they may be living, whether in residential and nursing homes, sheltered housing, retirement complexes or other private homes. The emphasis is on spiritual support but, clearly, people’s practical struggles will also play a part in their overall well-being.

The main purposes of an Anna Chaplain are:

  • Offering spiritual support to older people who are living in care homes and sheltered housing complexes, their relatives and staff who look after them.
  • Promoting the spiritual welfare of older people in the wider community, particularly those facing challenges living independently.

Meet our Anna Chaplain

Eileen Tomlin is a Licensed Lay Minister (Reader) in the Parish of Malvern Link with Cowleigh. For some years, her main ministry has been with older people, visiting them in care homes and maintaining contact with those who are no longer able to attend church services.

Eileen’s commissioning

Eileen felt it was important to formalise the work she was doing with the older members of the community and was thus commissioned as an Anna Chaplin to this parish on 13 September 2020.

Eileen is now looking to co-operate with other churches across Malvern to network and work together, sharing resources and information and co-ordinating visits to care homes and older people.

In Eileen’s own words:

“Although not everyone is able to commit the time to becoming an Anna Chaplain, there are still other ways in which they can support the project.

People can become an ‘Anna Friend’ and help practically, for example through helping to put craft packs together or through prayer, which is equally important.”

If you would like to get involved as an Anna Friend, please contact Eileen directly or via the parish office.

Please pray for Eileen and for all Anna Chaplains and those who support older, lonely and vulnerable people.