Challenging exclusion in a harsh environment
Our annual Conference took place on 20 September 2023
It asked the questions:
What can the Churches do?
What are the Churches already doing?
You can read a Report of the event here.
This is the background to the Conference and a description of what was going to happen:
Harsh environment. It’s not just about too much heat, or too much rain. It’s about us all seeking a shared understanding. How should and could we try to live in the harsh reality of societies where older people can suffer particular impacts? For instance:
- exclusion through inadequate or inaccessible care,
- by being involved with criminal justice (prison or probation),
- by being isolated or lonely.
Everyone says that older people are cherished – but often they are forgotten.
Christians on Ageing wants to make sure that the Churches do something about this – and not just by telling others what they should be doing, but looking at what they are doing themselves. We have some very interesting speakers for you:
formerly Archbishops’ Commissions Manager, Lambeth Palace
currently a Public Policy Researcher to the Church of England
Will can tell us what led to and what emerged from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York report and, from his experience with the Arcbishops’ Commission, will give a presentation about its work, its recommendations and follow up activities, and will explore how churches on the ground might be able to participate in Care & Support Re-imagined
Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Sheffield Hallam University.
Nichola is interested in Criminal Justice System organisations, functions, structures and the development of partnerships to support aims and objectives. She has experience of working in and with a variety of voluntary and statutory organisation in the Criminal Justice System, such as Probation, the Prison Service and Drug Treatment services. Her research includes studies of older people involved with the probation service. We look forward to her extending our understanding of the characteristics and needs of older people within the criminal justice environment. Nichola will speak about her work on Older People and Probation
Founder and CEO of the charity
Time to Talk Befriending
Emily believes passionately in the power of friendship to change people’s lives. After losing her beloved grandmother, Emily began wondering how she could make life better for the city’s older people. Knowing that loneliness is a huge issue for older people, she gave up a successful career in marketing to create Time to Talk Befriending. Launched in 2013, the charity offers friendship and community to older people in East Sussex. We look forward to her sharing a practical approach to meet and overcome the potential difficulties of being and feeling alone
The study, which is published in the medical journal The Lancet Regional Health (Europe), is described as “a challenge to those who assume that ‘faith is dead’ in our modern world” in an independent commentary by Dr Andrew Tomkins, a member of the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Health, the Christian Medical Fellowship UK, and the International Christian Medical and Dental Association.
Dr Tomkins continues: “It has important implications for all governments and health-care workers with responsibility for planning health services for those facing serious or terminal illness.
“It might be uncomfortable for secular health planners to admit that spiritual care is widely wished for, could be provided in forms which provide helpful support for patients coping with illness or impending death, and may even be clinically effective. But whose interests are more important — our patients’ welfare, or own preconceptions?”
The report is outlined in the Church Times: www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2023/12-may/news/uk/don-t-neglect-spiritual-care-doctors-told
|Don’t neglect spiritual care, doctors told
Denmark study suggests spirituality is important to patients
Archbishop Welby in stinging attack on migration bill. We are pleased to be associated with The Archbishop’s stand and declaration of Christian principles in the government of our country.
Dr Mike Lowis has sent this message for members and friends:
It is with sadness that I have to report that Rev’d Roy Allison died on 6th March. He was aged 82.
Frances, his wife, told me his death was due to Corticobasal syndrome (CBS), a rare, progressive atypical Parkinsonism, although this was only specifically diagnosed quite recently after a long period of illness. His cremation took place on 22nd of March.
Those who, like me, served on the Executive Committee in the 1990’s will remember Roy as a caring and committed Chairman of CCOA as it was known then, from 1998 to 2004. We worked together on several projects, including visits to various agencies. I remember one of his great loves was swimming. After our meetings and at every other opportunity he visited the nearest swimming pool to enjoy a welcome dip. We have kept in touch ever since.
In addition to Frances, Roy leaves two sons, Paul who lives in the USA and Tim in Scotland. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
Dr Mike Lowis served on the Executive Committee for many years and provided leadership for the organisation’s then Research Group.
Church Leaders from JPIT’s denominations (Joint Public Issues team of the Baptist Union, Methodist Church and United Reformed Church) have signed a joint statement expressing opposition to the government’s new ‘Illegal Migration Bill’:
We are appalled by the proposals in the government’s ‘Illegal Migration Bill’ to detain, punish and reject thousands of people seeking safety. They are completely incompatible with our Christian conviction that all human beings are made in the image of God, and are therefore inherently worthy of treatment which honours their dignity. Instead of dignity, these plans will foster discrimination and distrust, and cause immeasurable harm to people already made vulnerable by conflict and persecution. If ever there was a contemporary example of ignoring our neighbour and walking by on the other side, this is it.
When two in three people who cross the channel to seek sanctuary in the UK are granted asylum following rigorous checks, it seems unthinkable to reject them before they have even had a chance to have their claim for asylum heard. Many people fleeing war and persecution in countries such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Eritrea and Sudan have been left with no safe and accessible routes to claim asylum in the UK, forcing people to make difficult and dangerous decisions. The UK falls far behind our global neighbours in welcoming people seeking sanctuary into our communities, and yet these plans essentially put a ban on claiming asylum and reject the UK’s responsibility to play our part in responding to global inequalities and conflict.
We all agree that we cannot continue to see thousands of people risk their lives to reach safety in the UK, but the solution cannot be deterrence and punishment. As Christians, we believe that we should be amongst the first to welcome the stranger with open arms. We urge the government to withdraw this legislation, to honour our moral and international obligations and to behave with compassion and fairness by establishing safe and accessible routes to enable the UK to play its part in welcoming people in need of safety.
Revd Fiona Bennett, URC General Assembly Moderator
Revd Lynn Green, General Secretary of the Baptist Union
Revd Graham Thompson, President of the Methodist Conference
Anthony Boateng, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference
Lent 2023 Christians on Ageing Newsletter
Read all our latest news here: Spring 2023 Newsletter (mailchi.mp)
including information about our AGM and Guest Speaker:
Annual General Meeting of Christians on Ageing
26 April 1pm – 2.30pm
Guest Speaker: Debbie Thrower
Trust in Old Age – How to avoid becoming our own worst enemies as we grow older!
Debbie Thrower explores erosion of self-belief in our later years and what part Christian faith can play in affirming one’s identity – and future – in the face of inevitable change.
Pioneer of Anna Chaplaincy for Older People at BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship), Debbie Thrower is a former journalist and broadcaster working for both BBC and ITV. In less than a decade the Anna Chaplaincy national network has grown from just one – Debbie was the first Anna Chaplain – to more than 270.
Put the date – 26 April 2023 – in your diary. We will welcome our guest speaker at around 1.30 pm
A National Care Covenant for England
Christians on Ageing is delighted to welcome the publication on 24 January 2023 of a visionary report by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York entitled Care and Support Reimagined: A National Care Covenant for England, which calls for a radical redesign of the social care system based on Christian principles. We wish the Archbishops and the experts who advised them every success in facilitating discussions about their proposals both in churches and in the wider community.
Read the Report here
In light of the recent developments in the management of Twitter, particularly in the way its staff have been treated, Christians on Ageing has decided to discontinue its use of Twitter as one of our means of communication. We have made this decision known on our Twitter account and have displayed this decision prominently on our website. It was also agreed by the Executive Committee to urge and encourage partners and colleagues to do the same.