Rev Chris’s Weekly Update 21/08
There are approximately 25 care homes across Maidstone providing much needed care to older people, many of whom are Christians and have previously been committed members of their local parish church. Providing for their ongoing spiritual needs is an important ministry and over the years individuals from various churches have done just that with regular visits, services, and communion where possible.
We are all acutely aware of the impact that the pandemic had upon care homes that put immense pressure on staff, as well as residents. The ministry provided was also affected as visiting was not possible, however we were very blessed by the fact that pre-pandemic the local care home ministry had been developed to another level under the ‘Anna Chaplaincy’ umbrella, with the result that it is as strong, if not stronger post-pandemic.
Anna Chaplaincy is an ecumenical, parish-based chaplaincy to older people. It is named after the faithful older woman, Anna, who appears with Simeon in Luke’s Gospel. (Luke 2: 22-39) Anna Chaplaincy values and respects the elderly and was set up across Maidstone by Elizabeth Bryson (wife of Fr Neil Bryson) from St Michael’s – Elizabeth and Neil have now retired and moved to Norfolk and Sue Yeo, from St Martin’s has taken over the reigns of coordinating the network of volunteers.
From such volunteers individuals may go forward to become Anna Chaplains and take a more significant role within the local network. I am pleased to advise that Erika Catchpole, known to both St Nicholas and St Paul’s churches, is to do just that and will be licensed as an ‘Anna Chaplain’ this coming Sunday, 21st August at the 10am Oasis Communion service at St Nicholas Church – please pray for her ministry and all of those engaged in this vital work to the care homes across Maidstone.