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Togetherness on line

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

By David Jolley

We are beginning to feel the water of a return to meeting close-up with others we may not know intimately. It feels strange. Faced with a row of four people sitting shoulder to shoulder I hesitated at their invitation. With apologies I explained how unsure I felt – and sat at one seat distanced from the nearest. I soon was to find myself literally outflanked as others sat naturally on either side of me. Hopefully we will all be OK.

In our activities with Christians on Ageing we have rejoiced at the success of conference calls – monthly online seminars on relevant topics. We have learned so much and interacted with people from north and south, east and west without difficulty, inhibition or cost in terms of time or travel. We are keen to get back to in-the-flesh meetings for their advantages of informal chat that can open up and explore concerns and interests and simple gossip, so productively and with somehow a deeper contact.

For this year though we are offering an on-line ‘webinar’ on September 29th instead of attempting a conference – we hope to meet a wide audience – the topics have identified themselves from the experiences and questions of this year.

Older prisoners: There are more than 5,000 men aged 60 and over in UK prisons (total population 83,618), 161 of these old men died in prison during the 12 months to June 2021

A session which will be presented by Lynn Morris and the company of Journeymen Theatre and Chaired by Gerry Burke and Joseph Cortis.

‘Back door parole’ is a play which highlights issues relating to the lives of older men who are incarcerated with disabilities, illness and death. We will present extracts from the play and facilitate discussion and collect views in small groups

There will be a lunch break, followed by Music as therapy in dementia by Kathryn Rowland (All in Sound) – Dementia is recognised as the most feared illness amongst people over 50. Perhaps overshadowed just now by Covid-19 it has made people more vulnerable to the virus and will remain a major source of impairment, illness and distress when the pandemic is hopefully contained. Kathryn will offer an explanation of music and its power in dementia – and allow us to share an experience of on-line singing for dementia. Introduced by Barbara Stephens.

We will then chair An exploration of end of life issues: Dying, death and assisted dying:

For many of us, these recent months have brought us closer to death than ever in our lifetimes. The Covid-19 pandemic has increased deaths in this country and throughout the world, some deaths have followed directly from the virus, others by its indirect impact as health and care services have been stretched and people have been fearful to seek help symptoms of other illnesses. This has led to wider contemplation of life, death and the experience of dying, how this is approached and even its legal framework.

These matters will be considered in short addresses by two speakers: Graham Hawley who is a retired Methodist Minister and James Woodward who is Principal of Sarum College. He has published widely and was part of the Commission on Assisted Dying, which reported this year. We will break into small groups for discussion and thoughts.

And we will finish with an open discussion asking people to talk to Current and future needs for the work of Christians on Ageing. Christians on Ageing is an established but growing and responsive ecumenical organisation. In this session we will be pleased to hear of initiatives around the UK and look for suggestions for topics we should be addressing and how they would be best approached and delivered

This webinar is free for all attendees. We will be very pleased if delegates who are not yet members decide to join us. Support will always be welcome.

HOW TO BOOK Visit our website

Click on ‘Conference’.

Go to ‘Book here’.

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