Dear Debbie, writes Anna Chaplain Joan Grenfell from Jesmond, Newcastle who leads worship in several residential homes…
I wanted to share these pictures with you and try to explain why!
I was celebrating the Feast of Christ the King in one of my care homes. I had placed two crowns on the altar as you see in the picture. I always talk about Jesus being the king of two crowns, the crown of thorns and the crown of glory.
Just before the end of the service, a resident, whose dementia is significantly advanced, approached the altar and, without saying a word, picked up the crowns and rearranged them.
He first put the crown of thorns over the crucifix and then placed the crown of glory on top of it.
I was amazed. It seemed that he had made such a statement; that without the centrality of the cross there would not have been two crowns or indeed, any crowns!
Earlier in the service, the gentleman had come beside me at the altar, picked up the pattern with the host, and then stayed beside me as I read the gospel passage. I had wondered if he was a priest, but apparently not. Again, it was about his need to touch and feel.
Worshipping with those with dementia can produce such inexplicable and beautiful moments.
It is these moments which confirm my commitment to my role as an Anna Chaplain.