As churches embark on their initial engagement as dementia-friendly churches at the heart of dementia-friendly communities, we focus on three key areas.
Dementia Friends Sunday service
Increasing understanding of dementia with the whole church family
- These services raise awareness with the whole church family, increasing understanding of dementia and turning understanding into action, using the national Dementia Friends programme. In essence, Dementia Friends shares key information about dementia, to increase our understanding, and then encourages people to turn their understanding into action
- We have held Dementia Friends Sunday services in many churches across the Diocese, creating thousands of Dementia Friends in our Sunday morning services. And we continue to offer Dementia Friends Sunday services to other churches that want to work to become more dementia-friendly.
- Supporting this and giving a lead from the centre, Dementia Friends sessions have been held for our Bishops Staff meeting and our Diocesan Officers meeting.
4-session Dementia-Friendly Churches course
- People who want to go further attend a four-session Dementia-Friendly Churches module (or day workshop equivalent) covering:
(1) Pastoral care;
(3) Church services; and
(4) Community Networks.
- This has been run in a whole variety of locations across the Diocese and is now being run for groups of churches. A participant described the course as Enlightening. Inspiring. Challenging. Moving. Cathartic. Going forwards, she plans to try and forge new contacts within the village and to create a dementia-friendly church.
Support churches in taking next steps
Initiating local church activity and change
- People decide on next steps appropriate to their locality, so we are supporting a range of different activities in different churches e.g. volunteering in local groups, one-off events, using the church building to host a course or an activity, starting a regular group in church or holding a dementia-friendly church service.
- We have also held Dementia Friends sessions in a wide variety of contexts - from schools with church connections to luncheon clubs, from church groups to pastoral workers. Additionally, other people from our churches are becoming Dementia Friends champions so that they can run Dementia Friends sessions with a whole range of groups across the diocese.
- Some churches are now running regular groups specifically welcoming people with dementia and their families/carers. People with dementia are supported in continuing to play an active role in these groups and community life. A couple came to a group and went away saying, Were going to get out and join in, rather than hiding ourselves away.