Bishop Michael’s Lead – Listening, Participating, Learning

Bishop Michael Ipgrave highlights three important themes, speaking to a Dementia-Friendly Churches Training Day in October 2020.   

  • Listening to individual stories, creating the culture where people feel confident to tell their stories and share their experiences and the culture which enables people to feel comfortable in listening to those stories. Bishop Michael encourages us to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches through each person experiencing dementia and through those who care for them.
  • Participating in a way which doesn’t expect everyone to do the same thing in the same way – without worrying about getting things right or wrong! Bishop Michael spoke of faith being more profoundly plugged in to who we are and who God is: it’s about being held in God’s love and remembered by Him.
  • Learning from one another and from people with dementia, allowing space for heart-learning, reminding us that all of us are dependent on God. Bishop Michael spoke of his predecessor Bishop Keith (Bishop of Lichfield from 1984-2003) and the Bible that he had used daily in his last years, when he lived with dementia: in the well-thumbed book of Psalms, including the passages that wrestle with God, God’s presence and love shines through, even in times of tribulation.

Bishop Michael shared the words of a letter to the church from Christine Bryden, an Australian catholic who lives with dementia: “I may not be able to take an active part in worship, but I can receive the gifts of love and grace. This is the good news of the Gospel for those living with dementia: we are equal before God in receiving divine love and grace.”

Bishop Michael recognises that we are working to make that simple but important truth a reality through dementia-friendly church.

You can listen to Bishop Michael’s words in this 10-minute video:

In line with our Diocese of Lichfield Vision Statement, engaging with dementia-friendly church is an important part of being a church that reflects the richness and variety of our communities, works together for the common good and is committed to learning and listening from one another. 

Page last updated: Tuesday 1st August 2023 2:34 PM

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