Care Homes and Day Centres
Communion is shared with residents at a number of local care homes. The following was written for our 2015 Annual Report by Elizabeth Bryson LLM (Licensed Lay Minister) who is developing the role of "Lay Chaplain" at Larchfield Care Home and who leads a regular monthly service at Boyn Grove Day Centre.
Larchfield Care Home
In 2015 I went to Larchfield Care Home twice a month. Earlier in the year up until October I took Communion and lead a Service with hymns and Holy Communion. The Residents with a Church background who were able to attend were brought to the Service. They love the Services as it is special for them to hear and sing the hymns, hear the Bible reading and receive Communion. This was a special opportunity for these people, who can no longer attend Church Services, ‘to encounter Christ in Word and Sacrament.’ I have seen the presence of the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus felt through the fog of Dementia. Often one of the Residents reads the Bible reading for us, which is lovely. Matt, the Activities’ Co-Ordinator, encourages the Staff on the four Units to bring Residents along to the Service. We have had up to 14 at the Service with 12 Communicants. I took my large fabric ‘Last Supper’ picture to give a visual clue to us receiving Communion because Jesus told his followers to do this at the Last Supper.
Later in the year from November I have lead two Services with hymns, prayers and Bible readings: one downstairs and one upstairs. We all gathered downstairs for a Harvest Service in October and a Christmas Service in December. The Christmas Carol Service with Carols and Bible readings was enjoyed by 28 people: with 15 Residents enjoying the Carols. They ‘encounter Christ’ through the words of hymns, carols, prayers and Bible readings.
Some of the Residents are too unwell to be able to come to the Services. I visit the four Units, Thames, Test, Avon and Cherwell to pray individually with those who are sick, with a Church background, who would like to receive prayer. I often sing verses from hymns and see a response in those people, when I often have seen the presence of the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus shine through the Dementia. I have read about this in ‘Worshipping with Dementia’ by Louise Morse. (Monarch Books 2010 p.17) I have also prayed with members of Staff and families of the Residents. I have been asked to pray with the dying and prayed with them and their families. When requested, Fr Neil has visited with me to give the Last Rites. I have contacted the Roman Catholic Priest when a member of his Church would like a visit from their Priest and for him to give Last Rites to Roman Catholics at Larchfield Care Home. Those Residents ‘encounter Christ’ through the sacrament of Holy Unction. I have also prayed with those who recently died in 2015 and their families, who were comforted by that special prayer time.
I am glad to be developing the role of ‘Lay Chaplain’ at this Care Home. The Staff welcome me onto the Units and they are glad that I pray with people individually. They know they can contact me if people would like prayer at other times. The Staff at Larchfield Care Home appreciate the spiritual help given by All Saints Church.
Boyn Grove Day Centre
In 2014 I met with the Manager of Boyn Grove Day Centre as she wanted to have a monthly Service at the Day Centre, because she was concerned to meet the spiritual needs of the people attending the Day Centre, who may not be able to go to Church on Sundays. This is ‘Boyn Grove Community Memory Resource Centre’ providing ‘Meaningful Activities for people living with Memory Problems’.
It is a very ‘meaningful activity’ for those people to sing hymns and pray The Lord’s Prayer as well as listen to or read from the Bible. This helps their memory and also enables them to ‘encounter Christ’ through the words of hymns, carols, prayers and Bible readings.
I plan and lead a Service there on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, with hymns, prayers and Bible readings read by people attending the Day Centre. Every month the Service has a theme, which they have sometimes prepared for with activities. Our Services in 2015 were:
January – Epiphany
February – Love: the love of Jesus and being thankful for people we love & those who love and have loved us
March – Lent and Mothering Sunday
April – Easter
May – Jesus’ Ascension and Pentecost
June – Boat trips
July – Picnic time with Jesus
August – Jesus healing people
September – Jesus telling stories
October – Harvest
November – Remembrance
December - Christmas
There are up to 24 of us at the Services. They all appreciate the Services and it is a joy to be there each month to lead a Service with those lovely people who can no longer attend Church on a Sunday.
Elizabeth Bryson LLM