Certificate in Ministry Among Older People


Cliff College is delighted to be again running this short course Certificate in Ministry Among Older People with our partners The Bible Reading Fellowship. The course is led by Debbie Thrower, with contributions from Julia Burton-Jones, the dementia specialist project officer for the Diocese of Rochester.

Ministry Older People Certificate

This short course certificate is for those wanting to see deeper discipleship in later life. It will inspire, equip and enable people to work in their communities to improve the spiritual lives of older people. Sessions cover aspects of the spirituality of ageing, the spiritual care of people living with dementia, and how to enhance pastoral skills such as attentive listening.

The need for ministry among older people

It’s good news – we’re living longer, and with that come substantial challenges. We are a rapidly ageing population here in the UK. This Cliff College short course shows that ministry among older people is not just a desirable option but a pressing necessity. Headlines scream: ‘social care crisis’, ‘NHS stretched to the limit’, ‘demographic time-bomb’ and the statistics are eye-popping (Age UK):

  • The population aged over 75 is projected to double in the next 30 years
  • The number of people aged 60 or over is expected to pass 20 million by 2030
  • There are 11.8 million people aged 65 or over in the UK

Longevity is also a cause for celebration – a spiritual dividend of wisdom and experience. Church has always existed to remind people there is more than one way of looking at life, to offer a fuller frame of reference, a way of growing up in Christ. Living longer offers the prospect of going on growing spiritually.

Course content

The short course suggests ways churches can support older people better and outlines the tried-and-tested approach of Anna Chaplaincy to Older People (named after the faithful widow Anna in Luke’s gospel) that’s developing across the UK. Anna Chaplains – men and women, lay or ordained – and volunteers working with them are supporting people living in residential care and those struggling to live independently in their own homes.

There is time for personal reflection and social space, as well as teaching delivered via lectures, seminars, and workshops with practical as well as theoretical applications. The certificate course aims to enable new learning and provide the student with skills and resources for individual or church-based ministry among older people. Sessions are tailored to boost the confidence and skills of people with a heart for ministering to people in the second half of life. This short course will also benefit church leaders keen to develop their mission and ministry among the growing numbers of men and women in the so-called Third and Fourth Ages.

Participants gain a Cliff College certificate by completing the required assessment work following the teaching week. Successful students will be invited to the Cliff College graduation ceremony. Students can choose not to do the assessment work by auditing the short course.

‘Anna Chaplaincy reaches the parts that other priests haven’t reached!’

Anna Chaplaincy seeks to accompany older people at this age and stage of their lives. It is an ecumenical, community-based, chaplaincy promoting the spiritual welfare of older people. Anna Chaplaincy is a person-centred and non-judgemental ministry for people of strong, little or no faith at all.

Anna Chaplaincy is part of the Bible Reading Fellowship. You can find out more here.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Cliff College - I thought the staff team were lovely, the setting of the college beautiful and the whole experience of staying in a Christian college was amazing. I learned loads and met lovely people. Thank you for making the whole attendance so well organised and welcoming.

Lots of ideas, great resources and passionate tutors, which made it a very enjoyable and fulfilling course.

A time of huge inspiration.

‘As part of our partnership with The Bible Reading Fellowship, we are really looking forward to again working with Debbie Thrower and Anna Chaplaincy on this deeply important course. Ministry among older people is not just a desirable option but a pressing necessity, and this course provides some of the necessary training into this key area of ministry.’
Ian White, short course programme leader, Cliff College

Certificate in Ministry Among Older People: Monday 22 February - Friday 26 February 2021

The cost of £450.00 includes all teaching materials, tutorial support, board and accommodation in single en-suite rooms.

Additional nights can be booked at an extra payment for those travelling a distance in readiness for the (mid-morning) Monday start.

A non-refundable deposit of £75.00 secures your place on the short course and is payable on your acceptance of the place offered. The balance of fees should be paid on arrival or before.

To apply for this short course, email shortcourse@cliffcollege.ac.uk or call Pete Anderson on 01246 584203.

Your Cliff College short course Certificate in Ministry Among Older People may also enable you to gain credit towards a University of Manchester certificate, diploma or degree at Cliff College. Usually, a short course certificate will gain you 10-20 credits towards a validated qualification. It would mean, for instance, that instead of studying 120 credits in the first year of a degree, you only study 100-110. The awarding of credit in this way is not automatic and must be applied for. If you would like further guidance on whether your Cliff College short course certificate may contribute towards a University of Manchester qualification at Cliff College then contact the Academic Director.