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Education and Training Opportunities




Certificate in Pastoral Care of Ageing People


A course which focuses on the spiritual and pastoral care of the elders of our communities.



  1. to assist in preparing people to offer pastoral and spiritual care that is effective and appropriate for the elders of our communities,
  2. to increase awareness and discussion of the specific needs of people in their later years with particular reference to those wholive in some form of residential care,
  3. to encourage ministry development among Christians in the area of aged care.


The course consists of three modules each comprising 12-15 hours of class time as well as the completion of learning tasks by participants.  The approach embraces a broad understanding of spirituality and a respect for different cultures and life journeys.  The style of the course is interactive; as well as input there will be opportunities for participants to contribute from their experience and a requirement that learning tasks be completed.  The Certificate awarded after each module will indicate the topics covered and will be awarded after satisfactory attendance and participation.


Requirements. The primary requirements are a personal Christian faith, compassion for others and an ability to learn from experience.  No prior qualifications or experience is required for the introductory module; however, entry to modules two and three require evidence of support from church congregation, parish or similar institution and the completion of module one.


Module One: Walking on Holy Ground:  introduction to nurturing the spirit in aged care.

  • Spirituality, Ageing, Ourselves.
  • Theories of life stages and spiritual journeys.
  • Ministry of Inclusion: people in communities, people who have moved to residential care complexes.
  • Ministry of Understanding:  people in grief, people with special needs.
  • Ministry of Re-membering: care for people with dementia and their loved ones.
  • Self care, ethical concerns and confidentiality.


Module Two: Ministry in Aged Care: communication of pastoral and spiritual care.

  • Compassionate listening and helping, the role of reminiscence
  • Special issues in communication such as hearing loss.
  • Nurturing the spirit through liturgy, music and prayer.
  • Transition from home to residential complexes; the process, the losses and gains.
  • Building helping relationships with families and carers.
  • Teamwork: managing personal responses and accountability.


Module Three: More Ministry in Aged Care: caring for the ageing person in context


  • Different faith journeys – honouring difference.

  • Different cultures, and Christian denominations  – honouring difference.
  • The culture of residential care,  particularly with reference to sexuality.
  • Common physical and mental health issues including depression.
  • Care of those who are dying; quality of life issues.  Death and funerals.
  • Personal goals for ministry; covenants and resources.


For enquiries: please contact Anne Russell-Brighty, Course Director, email anne.adrian@xtra.co.nz


The Centre for Ageing and Pastoral Studies, Canberra.


The Centre for Ageing and Pastoral Studies (CAPS) was established in 2001 to support research, education and policy development in ageing, pastoral studies and related ethical issues. Since then CAPS has developed


  • a graduate teaching program

  • an active program of research and publications

  • a biennial conference

  • national and international academic links

  • strong relationships with the aged care industry, including the newly launched industry body Pastoral and Spiritual Care of Older People (PASCOP).


CAPS is multidisciplinary, catering to the needs of health professionals, ministers of religion, pastoral workers and older people. It seeks to examine the process of ageing within the context of meaning in life and well-being. It operates within a Christian ethos in an ecumenical and university setting. A particular objective of CAPS is to undertake research in ageing and theology which has practical implications for the well-being and care of older people. Thus its focus is on the translation of research into practice, improving practice and achieving quality outcomes for older people.


CAPS is part of St Mark’s National Theological Centre in Canberra and the School of Theology of Charles Sturt University. Currently it offers:


  • Graduate Certificate in Ageing and Pastoral Studies

  • Graduate Diploma of Ageing and Pastoral Studies

  • Master of Arts (Ageing and Pastoral Studies)

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Arts)

  • Doctor of Ministry

These courses are conducted by distance education through Charles Sturt University. Course structure and fee information is available on the Charles Sturt University page. 

The Selwyn Centre for Ageing and Spirituality

Older people have spiritual needs, particularly at times of illness, disability or approaching death. They frequently seek to bring deeper meaning to their lives, and their spiritual needs intensify as they near the end of their lives. They may wish to examine relationships, look to find connections, to bring sense and satisfaction for a life lived - and explore their individual sense of being.


Organisations in the health and aged care services are called upon to give holistic care to older people. Sometimes, though, they omit the spiritual needs of those in their care. Yet research shows that people whose spiritual needs are recognised and addressed recover faster from physical or mental illness. Religious organisations sometimes struggle to meet the needs of their members.


In response, The Selwyn Foundation established The Selwyn Centre for Ageing and Spirituality, as New Zealand's voice for the spiritual needs of older people.


The Selwyn Centre for Ageing and Spirituality has three key areas of focus:

  • Education

  • Research

  • Advocacy 

The Centre provides training for older people and those caring for them; undertakes or commissions research into ageing and spirituality; and undertakes advocacy with government, NGOs and other institutions on the spiritual needs of older New Zealanders.



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