In the News
Hi, I am Keith Albans and I have recently become Acting Chair of Christians on Ageing. I am a retired Methodist Minister and for 16 years I was Director of Chaplaincy & Spirituality for Methodist Homes (MHA). My predecessor, David Jolley, has faithfully provided an insight into what has been going on in the news, relevant to Christians on Ageing. Whereas he has made a weekly contribution, I will attempt to offer a monthly look back for the time being while we explore the best ways of keeping one another informed.
So here is a brief look back at October 2023.
- The recent debate in the House of Lords about Adult Social Care has already been flagged, but the Church Times was keen to report what the Bishop of Sheffield had to say – and of course he linked his contribution to the similar report issued by the Archbishops’ Commission and which formed the basis of our recent Conference.
Reform of social-care system requires change in attitude, says Bishop of Sheffield (churchtimes.co.uk) The full text of the debate can be accessed at Adult Social Care (Adult Social Care Committee Report) – Hansard – UK Parliament and the report on which the debate was held can be accessed at committees.parliament.uk/publications/31917/documents/193737/default/
- The new King (how long do we keep using the word new?!) has a long-standing interest in the role of faith within society. In his recent Mansion House speech he returned to the theme, stressing the importance of understanding in religious faiths
- I remember attending a 110th birthday party for one of our residents. She was interviewed for Local Radio and, inevitably, was asked what the secret was of living so long. Charlotte responded vigorously, “If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret!” Personally, I have no great desire to live into extreme old age, but it is a subject which attracts a deal of interest, with some confidently predicting that the first person to live to be 200 is alive today! This article sets the target slightly lower and raises some interesting points.
- October was the season for the political party conferences, and our friends at the Centre for Ageing Better have included a review of what went on in their recent e-newsletter. The blog can be accessed at What conference season reveals about parties’ plans for our ageing population | Centre for Ageing Better (ageing-better.org.uk) While some encouraging signs were to be found, I was particularly struck by this observation, “There was a noticeable amount of rhetoric stoking intergenerational conflict at both conferences, pitting younger people against older people, particularly on topics like housing and pensions. This kind of narrative obscures the real issues, doesn’t help anyone and worsens the public debate. We really hope this doesn’t become a recurring theme in the election campaign.” To sign up to receive the regular e-news, visit Sign up to our email newsletters | Centre for Ageing Better (ageing-better.org.uk)
- And finally, it is right to acknowledge that Debbie Thrower has recently announced her retirement from the national Anna Chaplaincy team. Over the past 14 years Debbie has pioneered this form of ministry amongst older people which has taken root throughout the country. In retirement Debbie will assume the role of Vice-President for the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF), under whose auspices Anna Chaplaincy now sits. CoA has enjoyed a close and positive working relationship with Debbie and we wish her God’s blessing in this new phase of her life, and we look forward to continuing to work with her successor, Debbie Ducille.
“What the papers said”
The first contribution to our regular feature ‘What the papers said’ appeared on our NEWS pages on 11 January 2020. The title was ‘Death, Discrimination and Deprivation’. It was a selection of headlines and links to articles or news stories in the previous week with a particular reference to the lives of older people. The review was compiled by our Chair, David Jolley. Today we publish his final review as he is standing aside as Chair. A quick count reveals an outstanding achievement. Since the first one was published – just before the full horror of Covid-19 began to unfold – David has produced a total of 195 weekly commentaries. All are still available on our NEWS pages and they provide a simple and accessible record of some of the most turbulent years in our recent history, giving a glimpse of the political, social and international challenges, week-by-week, which have brought us to yet one more moment of crisis. David’s final contribution has as its headline: ‘Want to keep walking? Keep walking!’. It’s not a bad summary of what he has tried to do over the past few years and of the faith which underpins all that we try to do in Christians on Ageing.
David hopes that the feature will continue in some fashion. I hope so too; preparing it for publication each week has brought the news affecting my own life, as an older person, clearly into focus. It has helped me to reflect on events, to try to make sense of them when, sometimes, they seem to make no sense at all.
On behalf of your many readers, David, thank you.