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Written in the bones

Written in the bones

A new initiative in the Church of England aims to support dementia sufferers in the practice of their faith by tapping into deep-seated sensory memories of words and worship.

The Daily Telegraph reported on the news from the Liturgical Commission.

Simple changes could mean making greater use of old version of the Lord’s Prayer, complete with words such as Thy and Thine instead of You and Yours. …

Dr Matthew Salisbury, the Church of England’s national liturgy and worship adviser, who works for the commission, explained: “By 2039 almost 1.5 million people in the UK are going to be living with dementia.

“The implications for the Church of England and our mission to this nation can be easily imagined. …

“It is high priority for us so we are going to pay this a great deal of attention.”

The challenge, he added, is to find ways to “meet people where they are with worship”.

“That means that for people for whom the Book of Common Prayer is a source of coming closer to God that needs to be there for them,” he said.

“You may get nothing out of someone and then chime in and say ‘Oh Lord open Thou our lips’ and they will come straight in with ‘And our mouth shall show forth thy praise’.”

The Liturgical Commission will send advice and guidelines to churches and cathedrals on offering multi-sensory services to help those with dementia relate to their worship. Commission Chair, the Rt Revd Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter, told the Telegraph,

“As a Commission we are working in partnership with specialists in this area to encourage good practice and create resources for dementia-friendly services so that sufferers and carers alike can be assured of God’s love and compassion.”

Read more here. Have you developed services that you would recommend to assist those with dementia in corporate worship?

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