I met recently with Josie Edwards from St Matthews Church, Donnington Wood. I found myself inspired by the practical way she is making connections locally, as she learns from local adults with learning difficulties. Residents from a local home are linking up with the church and bringing a new dimension to the worship there: for example, when an adult stands and gazes at the crib, with unwavering attention, their focus can take us to the straight to heart of the wonder of God with us.
St Matthews are taking next steps towards becoming a more dementia-friendly church. So they have just agreed at a Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting to develop St Matthews as a dementia-friendly church. Jean Rodwell and Josie have worked together for some time on dementia-friendly churches at St Matthews and have now both been appointed as Dementia Coordiantors there. St Matthews is planning to join the local Dementia Action Alliance, where each member organisation draws up an action plan outlining at least three actions to help deliver better outcomes for people affected by dementia. Josie and her vicar have suggested the following actions, which now have PCC support:
1. Appoint Dementia Co-ordinator(s) display notice for points of contact
2. Commit to liaising with Diocesan Advisors and to networking
3. Hold a dementia friendly service at least annually, to pray and raise awareness
4. Hold a social event at least annually, appropriate for people with dementia and their carers.
What about your church doing something similar? For any churches in the Lichfield Diocese, do get in touch if youd like some support in becoming a member of the Dementia Action Alliance and identifying three actions that are a fit for you: it would be great to work together on this.
Josie also shared with me the service sheet they had used last Easter in the residential home: what about deciding, as one of your actions, to use a format like this in a residential home near your church this month, to celebrate Easter? (If youd like an electronic copy, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and Ill willingly send one through.)