Dementia-friendly service for Pembury

First published on: 21st September 2023

St Peter's Church Pembury sits proudly under a bright blue sky.

A new dementia-friendly service has been launched this September at St Peter’s Church in Pembury.

It makes it one of a growing number of parishes within the Diocese establishing regular activities aimed at those with conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Figures shared by the Alzheimer's Society for World Alzheimer's Day (21 September) show that one in three people born in the UK today will develop dementia.

Fourteen people attended, including four people living with dementia. With crafts on hand during and after the service, there was plenty of opportunity for people to gather and have a good chat over tea and cake. 

“Many seemed keen to come again, and to tell others.”

Says Robert Dammers, Secretary of the Parochial Church Council (PCC), who along with Chris Waters, Lay Chair of the Deanery Synod, and curate Rev Simon Whiteside, developed the idea in liaison with Julia Burton-Jones, Anna Chaplaincy Lead and Dementia Specialist for the Diocese.

Anna Chaplaincy is a pioneering ministry focused on offering spiritual care to those in later life. 

This includes equipping churches to better support those older people in their community who are living with dementia and other later-life conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. Robert will himself be taking up Anna Chaplaincy training next year.

The Pembury service will be held on the first Friday of the month and complements a dementia café held on the third Friday of the month at the local Baptist Church.

Through exploring the diverse responses available through Anna Chaplaincy, Julia Burton-Jones says that churches are increasingly able to develop their services and outreach to be as inclusive as possible, so that those living with later life conditions and their families, feel supported and welcome:

“Anna Chaplaincy varies according to local need and can include, one-to-one support and prayer ministry, leading care home services, supporting dementia activities, and advocating for people with dementia; and supporting carers.

“Many of those who volunteer and train to be either an Anna Chaplain or Anna Friend find it deeply rewarding and recognise the difference it makes to people’s lives, faith and overall wellbeing.”

Visit our Older people and dementia page to find out more about Anna Chaplaincy.

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