A New Theology Of Dementia

Student, A. (2016) A New Theology Of Dementia. Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

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In this dissertation I will propose a new theology of dementia and encourage the Church to view their ministry to people with dementia as an opportunity for spiritual growth, rather than a sacrificial exercise in pastoral care. Contemporary scholarship has emphasized the necessity to continue to view the demented as people loved and created by God and they encourage the Church to be more involved in ministering to people with this disease. However, this theological emphasis is, in the main, a oneway pastoral ministry from the Church to people with dementia. I will argue that this emphasis needs to change to a two-way relationship whereby the person with dementia will teach the Church how to face their deepest fears of death, dying and powerlessness, resulting in spiritual growth. This change in emphasis will involve teaching the Church about the complexities of dementia and the variety of ways in which this disease is experienced. The idea that personhood is retained, even when memory and cognitive abilities are greatly diminished, is also a subject which needs to be taught, and the views of contemporary scholarship on this subject, outlined in Chapter 1, will be developed in Chapter 2. I will show that the current sacrificial view of ministry to the demented is guilt-inducing and that ministry to people with dementia should be seen as an opportunity to engage with people who can help them face their fears and grow in faith and spiritual maturity. People with dementia are important members of the body of Christ and, as St. Paul argues, “the weaker members of the body are indispensable” (1Corinthians 12:22). In Chapter 2 I will demonstrate how they are indispensable to the spiritual growth of the Church and how they will bring a new dimension to Church practices.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dementia, Spirituality, Ministry
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
Divisions: Departments > Theology
Undergraduate Dissertations
Depositing User: Janet Carter
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 08:55
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2017 08:56
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/2428

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