Bishop’s officer for Older People’s Ministry Rev Sally Rees will be commissioned as the Anna Chaplaincy’s lead chaplain for Wales in May.
The Anna Chaplaincy is part of the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) and takes its name from the faithful older characters in the second chapter of Luke’s Gospel, Simeon and Anna. Debbie was the UK’s first Anna Chaplain.
Anna Chaplains offer spiritual support to older people living in care homes and sheltered housing complexes, their relatives and staff who look after them. It promotes the spiritual welfare of older people in the wider community, particularly those facing challenges living independently.
Sally said: “Anna Chaplaincy is model of ministry for older people that grew out of a network called the Gift of Years.
“Older people also need ongoing spiritual care and Anna Chaplaincy is absolutely committed to resourcing this through BRF. The ministry involves accompanying ‘walking alongside’ older people, listening to their life stories and offering sensitive spiritual care anywhere in community.”
Sally began serving older people in the community as a lay person when the first pastoral team in St Edmund’s Benefice in the Crickhowell area, was set up in 2005. When she was licensed as deacon in 2014 her remit was to develop Older People’s Ministry in the community across the St Catwg Ministry Area.
The lay pastoral team has grown in the past six years – the aim is to have a pastoral team around all 10 churches in the Catwg Ministry Area as well as every care home and retirement housing facility.
“Older People’s Ministry, from my point of view, has been growing every year. We had a team in Crickhowell and now we have one in Llangattock, Llangynidr and Gilwern. I have been doing the training for lay pastoral visitors this side of Brecon and I’ve also now got teams in Beacons & Llyn Safaddan, Talgarth & Llyswen and Brecon ministry areas. We’ve now got around 50 pastoral visitors and we are hoping to develop a team in Brynmawr in the next year or so with the help of the Lee Abbey community.”
In recognition of her work, Sally was chosen as one of the faces of the Bible Reading Fellowship’s International Women’s Day celebrations, saying: “On International Women’s Day we salute Sally Rees, new Anna Chaplaincy lead in Wales, for spearheading this ministry, so older people in the community are cherished and honoured and their spiritual needs supported.”
“I was surprised and delighted to be recognised in their celebrations. BRF asked me for a photo for their social media campaign for the day but I didn’t know what they were going to say about me.”
Sally will be commissioned by Archbishop John on May 5 at the Mothers’ Union’s Diocesan Festival. Sally and Anna Chaplaincy founder and pioneer Debbie Thrower will be the speakers at the event.
If anyone is interested in pastoral visiting or Anna Chaplaincy contact 01873 811332 or email email@example.com
There will be an Anna Chaplaincy/Older People’s Ministry conference at St Catherine’s Church in Gorseinon on June 25. Registration 9.30 for 10am start – 3.30pm. Lunch is included and everyone’s welcome. Contact Sally for more details.