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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Dementia - an award for John Swinton

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

Professor John Swinton was among those honoured by the Archbishop of Canterbury recently, winning the Lanfranc award for Education and Scholarship, for his outstanding contribution to practical theology, particularly in the area of disability.

The Archbishop of Canterbury congratulates Prof John Swinton on the Ramsey Award 2016 for his book on dementia

We were delighted to hear that John Swinton had received the Archbishop's award. In 2016 his book Dementia: Living in the memories of God (SCM, 2012) was also awarded the Ramsey prize by Justin Welby.

The full citation for the Lanfranc award this month described Professor Swinton as 'without doubt one of the finest Christian practical theologians in the UK and internationally, who has made an extraordinary contribution in his field. His work has deep meaning and value for the church as a whole.'

'His interest in disability and mental health marks him out as someone deeply concerned with those who are often invisible or disregarded, and he has done much to enable deep theology to be done on matters of human personhood.

His book Dementia, which won the 2016 Michael Ramsey Prize, has enabled many local church leaders and volunteers to reflect on their practice and relationships in this area. John’s activity has much wider impact. He regularly contributes to strategic work on vital issues for the church.

In 2018 he assisted Lambeth Palace to shape a major piece on church and disability, which has yielded not only theological reflection but also significant practical outcomes: on questions of access to buildings, on enabling local churches to gain confidence in becoming more inclusive, and in examining the Church of England’s practice in discerning vocation.

In a similar way, he has helped to craft a piece of work on the church and mental health. His writing addresses the church in ways that are both accessible, and deeply rooted in theology and social sciences. John’s contribution to both thought and practice is invaluable, and reaches far beyond the church, in shaping how ordinary Christians relate to all those around them, and how they participate in essential community care and wellbeing.'

In praise of Swinton's book Dementia, Justin Welby said, 'It is a cross-disciplinary book that goes straight to the heart of tackling one of the most profound failures of our society – the failure to value people in other than economic terms and to see the dignity of the human person.'



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