Helping more people to explore the Anna Chaplain model

Debbie Thrower and Alex Burn talked about The Gift of Years and the Anna Chaplain model with around seventy readers, church leaders and others in Newcastle.

Sharing the Anna Chaplain model

On 10 March 2016, Debbie Thrower and Alex Burn attended a Newcastle Diocese information day which aimed to unpack the Anna Chaplain model of chaplaincy to older people.

Through The Gift of Years, we're aiming to inspire, equip and enable every church across the UK to meet the spiritual needs of older people wherever they may be - in congregations, in residential care, in their own homes and in the community.

It is about embodying the love of God for people at every age and stage of their lives.

Anna Chaplaincy aims to support and restore purpose, dignity and often a sense of identity to those who may be experiencing loss through bereavement, infirmity and sometimes through various forms of dementia.

Debbie Thrower

The Anna model offers a tried and tested way of getting this work really off the ground.

We were very grateful that Bishop Frank committed so much time to the day and offered his own reflections on ageing. I felt a real sense that those present had a desire to address these pressing issues and recognized that a church with an older group fully engaged, affirmed and valued is healthy and growing church.

Debbie Thrower

Anna Chaplaincy
is named after Anna, the aged widow in Luke’s Gospel who had waited in the Temple for so many years to see the coming Messiah, and who recognised him in the infant Jesus brought in by his parents.

During the day, The Gift of Years team outlined a variety of community-based ways of building mission and ministry among older people and helping prepare people for prolonged periods of retirement. They also explored strategies which celebrate the contributions of people in the second half of life while never under-estimating the considerable challenges of growing older in the 21st century. 

We believe churches can be at the forefront of combating loneliness and isolation, helping people recognise the landmarks on their spiritual journey. The church's good news is best heard by actions which speak louder than words, so the programme sets out achievable pathways for transforming people's quality of life in older age, supporting carers and preparing younger generations for the rigours, as well as the joys, of prolonged retirement.

How you can help

Pray for BRF


The number of people in the UK over 85 is expected to double in the next 20 years, and nearly treble in the next 30. We're working to help every church across the UK to meet the spiritual needs of older people.

Please pray specifically:

  • For Debbie Thrower and Alex Burn as they lead events and speak with churches, denominations and individuals about The Gift of Years.
  • Please pray for the Holy Spirit to raise up people with a passion for older men and women who will see the importance of working in this 'harvest field'.
  • Please pray for the Fundraising and Communications team at BRF as we seek to raise the necessary funds to establish and develop The Gift of Years.
Bible being held by old hands

Make a difference where you are

If you, or your church, are interested in finding out more about The Gift of Years, do visit The Gift of Years website, sign up to the newsletter and get in touch with Debbie and Alex.