Anna Chaplaincy

BRF Ministries is the home of spiritual care in later life

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What is Anna Chaplaincy

Anna Chaplaincy is a way of supporting older people emotionally and spiritually. We have practical knowledge of developing Anna Chaplaincy in communities across the UK. Whether you’re an individual called to this ministry, or a church leader wanting to develop it in your community, we can help you.

Our network of Anna Chaplains offer spiritual care in later life, in a wide range of contexts. They accompany older people in reflecting on their life and their relationship with God, breaking down generational barriers and offering friendship and community.

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 Chaplains are there for people of strong, little or no faith at all.

Our vision is to see an Anna Chaplain in every small- and medium-sized community in the country, and for the Anna Chaplain name to become synonymous with spiritual care for older people.

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What we’re working on

The Anna Chaplaincy team at BRF Ministries is continuing to work to encourage, affirm and resource existing Anna Chaplains and enable others to embark on this ministry for the first time.

We’re working on:

  • Raising the profile of Anna Chaplains within the church at a denominational level and liaising with others working in this area.
  • Developing a programme of training for existing and prospective Anna Chaplains to provide a foundation of excellence in ministry.

How Anna Chaplaincy is funded

Each year we need around £300,000 to sustain and develop Anna Chaplaincy. The vast majority of these funds are donated by individuals, churches and charitable trusts. We are so thankful to those who have generously given to support this ministry.

While we do generate some income for Anna Chaplaincy through charitable activities such as training events, this doesn’t cover the full cost of what we offer. Read more about how we are funded here.

Introducing the work of Anna Chaplaincy

In this short video, Debbie Thrower and Debbie Ducille introduce the work of Anna Chaplaincy and what is involved in being an Anna Chaplain. This community-based chaplaincy is making a difference to older people around the country, and one woman shares what it means to her.

Anna Chaplaincy founder

Debbie Thrower is the founder and pioneer of Anna Chaplaincy. Now retired she was the first Anna Chaplain, former broadcaster and Licensed Lay Minister. Debbie continues to champion the work of Anna Chaplaincy and became a Vice President for BRF Ministries in 2024.

Visit the Anna Chaplaincy website

Debbie Ducille – Ministry Lead

Debbie Ducille heads up Anna Chaplaincy’s strategic work with denominations and groups. She joins the Anna Chaplaincy team with a range of experience that includes roles in education, the voluntary sector and church ministry. She is passionate about vibrant relational life in the church, stemming from her own desire to network and connect with people and groups. She is also committed to pioneering reflective and strategic ways to think, live and act together.

Debbie and her family have lived in Birmingham for most of the last 20 years, a city she loves for its diverse and welcoming character. As well as her working roles, Debbie has long been engaged in theological studies, currently in doctoral research exploring elements of Anglican ecclesiology. In her spare time, she loves to make things, cook food from around the world and try to garden.

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Julia Burton-Jones – Training and Development Lead

Julia Burton-Jones joined BRF in May 2020. Since 2015 she has pioneered Anna Chaplaincy in Kent and South-East London. With a background in adult learning in ageing and dementia, her role as training and development lead includes writing and delivering courses for those exploring being an Anna Chaplain or Anna Friend, and ongoing ministerial education for the growing Anna Chaplaincy network.

Marian Muskett – Anna Chaplaincy Coordinator

Marian Muskett is often the first point of contact for those enquiring about Anna Chaplaincy.  Joining the team in June 2022 from a background in education, Marian loves hearing from people right across the UK, and from all kinds of church backgrounds, who have a passion for working with older people.

‘One of the biggest shifts in our approach to caring for older people that has started to happen with Anna Chaplaincy is that we’re spending time alongside people, rather than rushing in to do a short Holy Communion and leaving straight after.
General Synod
Attendee representing Newcastle