Spiritual care for older people – a vision catches fire

Inspiring a movement for older peoples’ ministry

When BRF with Debbie Thrower launched The Gift of Years in 2014 to help churches focus on the spiritual needs of older people, it felt very much like new territory. (The chances are your church leadership includes someone tasked specifically with engaging children and young people. But how many have appointed someone to serve the needs of older people?)

About The Gift of Years  Sign up for The Gift of Years newsletter

The Gift of Years Gathering 2017

Delegates at a session

Two years ago we welcomed a dozen people who are part of The Gift of Years network to two days of sharing, learning and networking. We called it The Gathering. Last year numbers doubled, and this year we’ve seen that vision catch fire as almost 70 people passionate about spiritual care for older people met to share their experiences and ideas at High Leigh Conference Centre in October.

Many were Anna Chaplains appointed by their churches to focus on older peoples’ spiritual needs, and people in similar roles, as well as other volunteer helpers.   

Attendees spoke of how inspiring it was to be part of a growing movement, as those with experience shared their insights with those just about to be commissioned.

With this widespread … development of The Gift of Years network, and the increasing awareness in our churches of the spiritual needs of the elderly, the potential for this ministry and for spreading the gospel message … is awesome.
A delegate, The Gathering 2017


It’s amazing the activity that’s going on, coordinated by BRF … The Gathering gives us all a chance to learn, share and take back. Our task is to change perceptions around ministry among older people. There are barriers to cross, but we’ll not give up. Because it’s the right thing to do.

Presenters at a session