We welcomed Beverley McArdle, Team Leader from the Brighton & Hove City Mission’s Care Homes team to our meeting. Our reading for the afternoon was Psalm 139 v 1-16 (a truly beautiful passage) which Beverley used to highlight her talk with the theme of “Who am I, and who are you?”
Beverley gave us some very interesting insight into the work within care homes in Brighton and Hove. At present the team delivers 28 services per month. These services may vary from a conventional service to a more simplified approach to accommodate the needs of those present. Everyone loves singing the old hymns and most remember the Lord’s Prayer. So many of the residents have a cognitive impairment but each person is valued and special. The team also spend time chatting, getting alongside, befriending and offering to pray for those who would welcome it.
We thought about what makes us, us! Like our names, our hobbies, our relationships, our individual characters etc. All these elements build us up. What happens if/when we lose any of these characteristics? Can we perhaps lose ourselves? Even if people lose the ability to remember their own name – God knows it and God knows them!
Beverley challenged us to be the light of Christ for those in darkness particularly those who may have dementia or some form of cognitive impairment. We need to be people who affirm others and help them to see who they are in Jesus because they cannot lose their identity and who they are in God’s eyes.
Beverley and her team help to connect people with their faith and at times Beverley shared that the presence of the Holy Spirit is so evident that it is tangible! God can and does reach each person with His love, His compassion and His mercy. The team tell people that they are dearly loved and that God will never forget them. What a wonderful ministry!
This truly inspiring afternoon ended with Beverley reading Isaiah 46 v 4 from the NLT version – “I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.”