Over the last few years we’ve seen more and more requests for talks and training on issues of old age. Some topics are more requested than others. Those topping the list are dementia, tackling loneliness, empowering and engaging older people and intergenerational church. The talks have been developed in response to requests from faith groups and churches of all denominations. You can find a list here, on our website, but we’re happy to liaise with you on something that’s specific to you. We were surprised by the results of a survey in a Welsh valley, known historically for its close community to find that the most pressing need felt by churches there was to know how to tackle loneliness, both in their congregations and in the wider community. https://www.pilgrimsfriend.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=53105365-047d-4858-b1d1-758a2bcd834f
Our gift to you
We’re best known nowadays for our housing and residential care homes. Our care homes are renowned for their Christian ethos and loving care, and our housing has won a reputation for developing vibrant communities. Yet in the early days, when the charity was founded (in 1807) its lifeline to elderly Christians was practical and spiritual support in the form of regular pensions (long before the Welfare State!) and practical gifts such as coal, groceries and warm blankets, which were always delivered by hand with Christian companionship and encouragement. Churches were encouraged to do the same and support the work. Charles Spurgeon would preach sermons on behalf of the charity, urging Christians to support it and notaries such as the Earl of Shaftesbury were friends and encouragers. Convinced of the value of each soul to God, anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce, was vice president until his death in 1833. The first home was built in Camberwell in 1835 in response to the dire housing conditions of the day.
We are still encouraging Christians all over the country to support older people, both in their fellowships and in the wider community, by sharing with them our experience and knowledge. We encourage participants to fill in our Evaluation Forms, telling us what they found helpful and what they would like more information about. Particularly appreciated is the spiritual aspect that we discuss. Some of the comments are in the ‘Commentary’ column – where you can add your own.
One of the first questions we are asked is how much do we charge? The answer is that we don’t set a fee.
Some comments are:
‘It is one thing to ask someone to speak who has researched and written on the subject but to hold the whole area of dementia within the context of the Christian faith is the special ingredient we were looking for.’
‘‘Very inspiring, hopeful, encouraging. It was bringing together experience, stories with Scripture, such an informative seminar.’
‘I loved the prayer centred, Christian way in which you presented the information. I learnt a lot.
(I wouldn’t change anything.’)