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May, June, July, August 2021


Conference Calls are discussions on important issues open to anyone interested in the work of the Churches with and for older people.  They are free and involve no commitment to membership.  Each session starts at 10.30 am and lasts for an hour and a half.  You join the discussion via a Zoom link which will be sent to you following registration of interest.  All sessions over the last twelve months have been fully subscribed within a short while of registration opening.
All sessions will start at 10.30am and end at midday, and have a lead speaker.
18 May
Christians and hospitals   
Marion Shoard
How can churches best support older and disabled people and their close family and friends if they have to go into hospital, during both during the visiting restrictions resulting from Covid and into the future? In which ways could the efforts of church people most effectively complement those of hospital chaplains?

This discussion, to be chaired by Marion Shoard, author of How to Handle Later Life and a trustee of Christians on Ageing, will be informed by presentations by two hospital chaplains – The Revd Jane Harris of the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust and The Revd Elizabeth Baughen, who trained as a general nurse and a Christian counsellor before ordination and is now a part-time C of E chaplain at Camden and Islington Mental Health Trust; she is also a trustee of Christians on Ageing
15 June
Supporting those who care for us     
Maureen O’Neill
'The presentation will focus on the issues which have emerged for health and social care staff in our care homes and care at home organisations as a result of the pandemic.  These will be seen through the lens of a recent review of the effectiveness of the listening and caring service set by Faith in Older People as a response to the pressures and fears experienced by these staff during this past year.'

Maureen O'Neill has been the Director of Faith in Older People for 14 years.  Previous to that she was the Director of Age Concern Scotland (now AGE Scotland) and Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the Scottish Association for Mental Health.  These experiences are brought together as FiOP develops its focus on the role of faith communities in supporting older people with long term mental health challenges. She is currently participating in a group considering 'Inclusive Church'.
20 July
Importance of Faith amongst Black Older Christians      
Charles Kwaku-Odoi
Faith is an important part of many older Black people, as a matter-of-fact faith is engrained in their lives. In most cases it does not just define who they are, or what they do, but it also shapes their life day-to-day choices.  Older Black Christians use their faith as a coping mechanism. When facing life stressors, their religious beliefs help them to manage personal behaviour and response to others. Faith is woven in the intergenerational engagement in the Black community, the interactions with the younger generation. Faith comes to the fore in overall health and wellbeing decision-making. Most importantly, Older Black Christians build their resilience and positive attitude towards life via their religious beliefs, largely Christianity.  For older Black Christians, losing touch with God could be the start of a myriad of issues including depression, anxiety or worthlessness of life. Older Black Christians are adept at using scriptural references in day-to-day situations. They say after their loved ones have been wronged, “don’t worry, the Lord will punish the wicked”. This is their approach to conflict-resolution and maintain peace. A constant reference to the supremacy of God and a determiner of outcomes are spontaneous natural responses. Faith is the best inheritance they are planning to leave behind for their children, grandchildren and generations after.

Charles Kwaku-Odoi is the CEO of CAHN: CAHN is a Black-led organisation set up to address the wider social determinants to reduce health inequalities for people of Caribbean & African in Greater Manchester and beyond. We work with the Black community and cross-sector organisations to build community resilience, relationships and a social movement to reduce health inequalities.  

17 August
Older people and spiritual strength in the world of nature     
Barbara Stephens
We are surrounded by the beauty of nature and immersed in its power: but how much do we really 'notice' in our busy everyday lives? This session will explore the emotional and spiritual benefits of connecting with nature, stimulating the senses, boosting physical and mental health, enhancing wellbeing. We will discuss research evidence that demonstrates the impact of nature on people’s physical and mental health.  Participants will be invited to share their own experiences of engaging with resources of nature and to consider how they can use natural resources in therapeutic and pastoral work with older people, people living with dementia, family carers - and everyone.   

Barbara Stephens is CEO of Dementia Pathfinders Home | Dementia Pathfinders

Conference Calls are open to all and there is no charge for taking part.

If you would like to join one or all of the new series just write to David Jolley using the e-mail link  You will need to be able to access Zoom to take part but there is no need to take out a subscription; use your search engine to learn about how to do this if you have not tried this new technology already.   You will be sent an e-mail with a link allowing you to join the discussion nearer the time of the Call.

Each session is led by someone with knowledge of the subject who will usually give a shoirt introduction to the theme.  Numbers for each session are limited to around a dozen in order to allow meaningful discussion.   A report is produced and is circulated to all participants before publication on our website.

Please ask any more questions when you register your interest.

Register your interest or enquire about places by e-mailing 


Our most recent on-line gathering in April discussed

Valuing the Narratives of Older People

What did we talk about?     What did we discover?    
What do we hope for now?

 The session was led by the Revd Dr Graham Hawley.  You can read a full report of the discussion here.  These are some highlights:

  • Older people have stories to tell from long lives
  • Church communities are built around older members
  • Narrative helps us all to find meaning and purpose
  • Older people are not just sitting around waiting to die
  • Older people are happy to talk about death
  • The medical profession and clergy are too shy to talk
  • There are many reports and references worth a look

......    and the session in March discussed the question

Are we dispirited? 

Older Christians and Mental Health at the start of 2021

 The session was led by David Jolley, Chair of Christians on Ageing.  You can read the full report here.  Here are some highlights:

  • Some people have suffered terribly
  • The signs of need have often not been recognised
  • We now care about Care Homes but forget sheltered housing
  • Data protection can lead to care being blocked
  • Covid did not cause but has certainly exposed many problems
  • Simple ideas, helping us all to keep in touch, actually do work
  • There’s tons of research but it needs to be used

Other News
Annual General Meeting
This year we met via Zoom on 21 April, which allowed members to take part despite being far apart geographically: one in Orkney, another in south Wales and another on the Isle of Wight in addition to other parts of England.  A report of the formal part of the meeting will be posted on our website.  The main event was the launch of our new publication for prisoners.

Seeking a Peaceful Heart
Our new publication is a selection of prayers and reflections to help those in prison.  It has been given, free of charge, to the chaplains for distribution in all 120 prison establishments in England and Wales (other arrangements are being examined for the eight prisons in Scotland).  It is aimed, first of all, for older prisoners but can be used by people of all ages.  You will find more information about the booklet on our website including the presentations made at the launch.

Dementia Network News
Members of the Network will soon be receiving  their copy of the May Newsletter.  If you are not a member but would like to join - no fees involved - please contact
Keswick Ministries and Faith in Later Life
We have received notice of Faith in the Second Half: a conference about faith in the second half of life to be held via Zoom on three mornings from 11 May to 13 May.  We are told: "Whether you are firmly in later life, have retired recently, are reflecting on what life looks like now your children have left home, or are involved in leading ministry with older people, this stream of seminars aims to provide teaching and insight into a variety of aspects of later life. You may be someone who wants some practical ideas about how to engage older people in your local community, or how to care for an elderly family member or friend, or someone with dementia. Or you may be reflecting on how to best prepare for later life and wonder what the Bible has to say about older age."

The cost of this online event is: £10 per day or £25 for all 3 days.  To register and for further information you can contact Carolyn at or telephone on 017687 80075 option 4.


We are always pleased to hear about the work of other organisations with similar aims and will give space in our newsletters whenever possible.  Let us know about your event by e-mail:

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