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Featured Winner: Memory Worship, Worship for those with and without Dementia

Memory Worship is worship for those with and without Dementia. It is a new ministry which addresses the spiritual needs of older People and those living with Dementia.

Memory Worship has a volunteer team of 15 people that support the service on a monthly basis. All have received Alzheimers Society "Dementia friend" guidance. Our team has been formed from Wesleys wider community network: Age Concern Southend, Waitrose, carers, family members with experience of caring for loved ones and church members with a real gift for listening and caring. We are lead by Rev Julia Monaghan and Ms Julie Peek. Ms Peek is the Mission Enabler for Older People at Highlands and Wesley Methodist Churches.


Project description

In Essex it is estimated that there are some 20,300 people living with a diagnosis of dementia of which 81% live in the community and are dependent on family/carers for support. Dementia is becoming an increasing concern in faith communities due to the need for more pastoral and community care as people living with dementia and those who care for them experience isolation and increasing lack of resources for healthcare provision.

Essentially the spiritual needs of those with dementia are the same as those of all human beings (love hope, faith, worship, creativity) but there are obvious impediments in their fulfillment and communication with others is made progressively more difficult.

Memory Worship is a monthly service at Wesley Methodist Church, Leigh on Sea, Essex using a consistent and informed group of local community volunteers . The formal part of the service is 30 minutes before leading into a craft activity and hospitality.

Worship can be a channel for recalling the past, creating feelings of comfort, familiarity and spiritual fulfillment. We all have a continuing need to worship and experience a loving encounter with God and Memory Worship takes a regular pattern of welcome, singing well known hymns, reading familiar passages from scripture and saying the Lord's Prayer together.

Their programme for Memory Worship started in January 2017. In this short space of time over 50 different people have found through Memory Worship the chance to approach God, Worship and praise God and feel God's caring presence together.

Church layout is informal with music playing a vital part in memory recall

Refreshments are served after the service in the church. It is essential for people to feel secure they need to be able to see their loved ones/carers

Music makes us want to sing and Sylvie used to be a professional singer

Rev Julia showing that God gives us strength in her walking boots

Betty, Joy and Dawn talking about the strength of Eagles

Jasmine helps Joy with cutting for her Memory Wall

Joys completed Memory Wall celebrating her four dogs that are so special to her

God promises to accept us just as we are. They all did a themselves and put it on creation collage exactly where they wanted to be in the picture.

Church Members and Wesley Pre-School lending support to Dementia Action Awareness Week 15th – 21st May 2017

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