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Welcoming the Stranger: Becoming a Dementia Friendly Congregation

Nancy Gordon

Welcoming the Stranger: Becoming a Dementia Friendly Congregation 

The Synod Assembly will be preceded on Thursday, June 2 by a Day of Learning, featuring a series of workshops centered around our assembly theme of “Church Together: Welcoming the Stranger.” Register for this year’s Day of Learning here

Workshop Leader: Nancy Gordon
Director, California Lutheran Homes Center for Spirituality and Aging

For families who experience Alzheimer’s disease, the universal observation is that they are gradually excluded from many normal experiences of life, including church. They feel like the unwelcome stranger. Alzheimer’s and other dementias make carrying on as usual impossible, but they are not insurmountable difficulties in maintaining and creating caring connections and community. This workshop will deepen our understanding of the spiritual journey of “forgetfulness” give practical suggestions about ways that congregations can be dementia friendly and caring communities. Participants will learn to frame Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias within a theological understanding of personhood and understand the cultural impetuses that make us so afraid of Alzheimer’s.

The Rev. Nancy Gordon is director of California Lutheran Homes Center for Spirituality and Aging, a post she has held for 8 years. Previously she served as Director of Growth Opportunities at Friendship Village of Schaumburg and as associate pastor of Winnetka Covenant Church, both in Illinois. She is a graduate of Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. She joined the grandparent ranks in 2015 and is in the process of building a tiny house on wheels in her daughter’s back yard.