Letter to the Church

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Abstract

I have published a number of books and articles, reflecting on my own personal lived experience with dementia. This article aims to encourage the church to see people with dementia like me as having a continuing sense of being an embodied self in relationship with God and with others. It is written in the form of a letter, or epistle, giving an insider's viewpoint of dementia, to which the church can respond. I am still part of God's good creation, and our common vulnerability before the divine draws us together in the church. I may not be able to take an active part in worship, but I can still receive the gifts of God's love and grace. The article suggests ways in which the church can offer people with dementia love, hospitality, welcome and a sense of belonging. It also indicates how the church can relate to people with dementia, despite our communication problems, and be alongside us in the present moment. We need the church to hold our story faithfully and to challenge the discourses of loss in dementia, taking care to use appropriate language. Suggestions are made as to how to reach out to people with dementia in pastoral care and ministry, assisting us to find a sense of meaning in the present moment. The conclusion is that I am who I am before God, included alongside others in the church, held in grace to the loving Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-106
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Disability and Religion
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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