Project for Seniors and Lifelong Ministry – is an independent registered charity (charity number 1103130), based at St Pancras Church, Euston Road. It is an ecumenical and London-wide organisation, with expertise on a range of issues relevant to those in or approaching their 3rd and 4th age.
PSALM was founded in 2004 in response to demographic changes which Britain is experiencing as a new phenomenon in its history. We are living longer and there are now more people over 60 in the population than under 16. This brings both opportunities and challenges. How do we understand and navigate our new longevity in a culture that often appears to fear ageing and to marginalise older people?
The PSALM strap line is “taking ageing and faith seriously”. We take ageing and faith seriously because there is growing evidence that faith is a helpful tool as we negotiate our 3rd and 4th ages. By providing opportunities for us to draw on the resources of our faith – and to discover new ones, we equip ourselves to respond to this new map of life.
There are key issues that PSALM tries to address:
- The need for opportunities to think boldly and imaginatively about how to live well in later life.
- The need for confidence rooted in a mature faith as a source of resilience.
- The need for Churches to work hard to counter the traditional undervaluing of older people and seek to provide more engaging and enlivening opportunities for older people to reflect and contribute.
We do this by providing lectures, workshops and seminars with the specific aim of addressing matters of interest and concern to people over 60 and those who minister with this age group. There are no age restrictions to attend PSALM events or to be a PSALM member.
All PSALM’S workshops have a particular relevance to the issue of ageing and are supported by well-designed group work and informed insight. Experience suggests that older people make the most of the opportunities to explore and share and draw on the resources of their faith., so time for conversation and discussion is crucial. Usually the events run from mid-morning to mid-afternoon although this is not hard and fast, and it is possible to do something worthwhile in a shorter time span. Experience suggests that the events work well for groups between 9 and 25 in number. The themes and the discussions assume that participants take faith seriously and are prepared to think deeply about some of the challenging issues associated with growing old.
Themes for recent workshops have included:
- Living in a changing world
- Memory and memories
- Living with loss
- Identity – who do you think you are?
We are happy to run these workshops ourselves in the Greater London area, or to provide materials for others to deliver locally. We also offer short training course, seminars and consultancy to churches and other groups wanting to develop their ministry with older people.
PSALM – WHO ARE WE?
Ann is from Liverpool but now lives in South London. Ann is a lay member of the Church of England. Her working life has been predominantly within the field of social responsibility, culminating in directing the Commission on Urban Life and Faith as a follow-up to the report ‘Faith in the City’. Ann is the author of a number of books on mission and social action including a consideration of intergenerational fairness – from the perspective of a baby-boomer. Ann has been a keen student of ageing for almost 30 years- it began as a theoretical interest – but has become more and more personal! Anne’s contributions draw on up-to-date research and thinking alongside Gospel insights and are always down to earth, engaging and frequently light-hearted
Ann W has been associated with PSALM since 2010, and is particularly interested in encouraging continued spiritual growth throughout life. She brings experience as a Reader in the Church of England and a member of the Mothers’ Union in the Diocese of Southwark, where she has served in a range of roles including six years as Diocesan President. She lives on the southern edge of the Diocese of Southwark and has an interest in rural life and ministry, representing Churches Together in England’s Rural Group on a European network of village churches. She is also the secretary of the Social Responsibility Officers’ network – and finds interesting overlaps between these various groups and issues of ageing and faith.
Claire is an associate of PSALM and author of the 2003 report for the Diocese of London on developing work with and for older people, which led to PSALM’s formation.
Her background is quite varied: she studied Russian and Soviet Studies and lived in the Soviet Union for three years during the break-up of the USSR. She is an artist and has written and illustrated a book of illustrated poetry entitled, “Poetry Comic No.1”. She has exhibited her paintings in galleries across the UK. Claire now works for St Marylebone Church as Parish Administrator. She has trained in providing therapeutic activities for older people and helps with PSALM’s publicity materials.
Helen and Libby :
Helen and Libby manage all PSALM’s administrative tasks between them. Helen is based in the office a day a week and Libby, who has a young family, works from home.