Question: ‘As one who has enjoyed keeping abreast of theological developments through your ministry, how do you sustain your faith now that your intellect is failing you?'
1. "I value going to church now much more than I have ever done." (Jim and his wife attend the church where they met, were married and all their children were baptised. It is to do with the fellowship within the elderly congregation, as the building burnt down some years ago.) The worship is high Anglican liturgical where there is much to engage the senses and prompt memory and faith.
2. I depend for everything on Irene (Jim’s wife). She is better than I at expressing faith in practical ways, in dealing with the family etc.
Jim’s personality allows him to be very much at ease with his situation - accepting those things he can no longer do, while continuing with what he can. He is not frustrated by his dementia that can leave him in limbo, not knowing where he is or what he is doing etc.
Out of this -
The centrality of relationships to faith - with those we love and who care for us and with those in the church family who share our faith.
The importance for someone with a life-time within the Church of the familiar liturgy etc.
For Jim a sense that he lives within the grace of God and at ease - not an attitude that is necessarily available to all who live with dementia.