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Event Series Event Series: Dementia Resourcing

Letter to My Pastor

The Center for Leadership Excellence presents a Dementia Resourcing Series…

October 8 @ 12:00 pm


About the Dementia Resourcing Series:

This series will have three components: two webinars and an open letter on dementia. Register for one or all three.

Webinar, October 1, 2024
Dementia through the Lens of Grace
Bishop Kenneth Carder

The Christian gospel of grace counters the stigma, isolation, and hopelessness associated with forms of dementia by broadening the lens from symptoms to stories and by providing a community in which the most vulnerable members become agents of renewal and transformation. The presentation will identify unique contributions people living with dementia offer to Christian discipleship and the church’s mission.

Article, October 8, 2024
“Letter to My Pastor”
Lester Ruth

We have commissioned Lester Ruth, worship professor at Duke Divinity, to write an article about what he would want from his pastor, particularly in terms of worship opportunities, if he developed dementia. Want to be the first to read this article? Select this option when you register and we will email it to you on October 8.

Webinar, October 15, 2024
Respite Care for All: Care Ministries for Your Community
Daphne Johnston

For those whose lives have been completely disrupted by a diagnosis of dementia, where do they turn? When loved ones lose their autonomy and all they have ever known, where do they find an anchor? Where do they go to restore meaning and purpose, to make new friends? How can they piece back together parts of their lives that still bring joy? The answer is the church. The faith community can provide community and hope for families living with dementia while also providing discipleship opportunities for their own congregation. Join this webinar to find out more information on beginning a respite ministry in your area.

About Kenneth L. Carder

Kenneth L. Carder is a retired United Methodist bishop and the Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School. He was a pastor for 32 years in the Holston Conference and served as bishop of the Tennessee Western Kentucky and Mississippi Conferences. He was the caregiver for his late wife, Linda, who died in 2019 after a decade-long journey with Frontal Temporal Dementia. He is the author of six books, including Ministry with the Forgotten: Dementia Through a Spiritual Lens. His recently published memoir is entitled Shifting Margins: From Fear and Exclusion Toward Love and Belonging. He is married to Norma Smith Sessions, and they live in Chapin, SC.

About Lester Ruth

Lester Ruth is a historian of Christian worship with particular interests in the early church and the last 250 years, especially the history of contemporary praise and worship. He is passionate about enriching the worship life of current congregations, regardless of style. He believes that careful reflection on the worship of other Christians—whether past or present, whether Protestant, Roman Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox—can serve to enrich the church today.

Lately he has been bringing that approach to inspire contemporary songwriters, having grown concerned about the lack of a Trinitarian dimension in so much worship music.

Dr. Ruth is a member of the Charles Wesley Society and served as president until the spring of 2016. He recently co-authored Lovin’ On Jesus: A Concise History of Contemporary Worship with Dr. Swee Hong Lim. He and Dr. Lim are working on a larger history of this same liturgical phenomenon to be published in 2021. This upcoming book is tentatively entitled Presence and Purpose: The Parallel History of Praise & Worship and Contemporary Worship.

 About Daphne Johnston

RFA Co-Founder and Executive Director
After 15 years of working as an executive director in senior living administration, Daphne Johnston stepped into the non-profit world of the faith community in 2012 when her senior pastor, Dr. Lawson Bryan, asked her to develop a volunteer model to provide support for families living with dementia in Montgomery, Alabama. Together, the two quickly learned a volunteer ministry could galvanize a community and change the culture of how we all live among our friends with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It quickly became Daphne’s personal mission to help families, clergy, and professionals better understand that trained volunteers are the immediate answer for combatting the isolation of Alzheimer’s disease.

Daphne is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Respite for All Foundation. She is the author of Reclaiming Joy Together: Building a Volunteer Community of Real Hope for Those with Dementia.

About Respite for All (RFA):

The Respite for All Foundation was established in 2018 to inspire and grow new respite ministries across the country. Through online and onsite training, annual conferences, group discussions, and one-on-one consultations, RFA guides churches and other organizations in building communities of well-being and connection that provide engagement and love for those with dementia. 

RFA shows faith communities how they can provide church space and service-minded volunteers to offer quality engagement for people with dementia, giving their caregivers a needed break. This is a holistic approach to improving quality of life, reducing social stigmas about dementia, and reducing care partner burnout. By offering RFA’s respite care model to church leaders, congregations can become assets for their larger communities and for individuals who need their help!

RFA has helped launch 40 ministries in 13 states and 7 denominations to date.