For the City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ (UCC), will be offering a dementia-friendly worship service on a monthly basis, beginning on Sept. 17.
The service will be offered on the third Sunday of every month at 11:00 a.m., located in the sanctuary.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease, or another form of dementia. With that, people living with dementia can continue to do many of the activities they love, including worship with a faith community.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 70 percent of people with dementia live at home. 22 percent live at home alone. The mission of the UCC is to offer an inclusive welcome where no one is turned away or left out.
“This mission is not fulfilled unless and until we can welcome into our sanctuary one of the most vulnerable groups of all: persons with dementia.”
Due to work conflicts, families and caregivers of dementia persons are most often unable to attend the worship services that are held at assisted living facilities. This will give them an additional opportunity – or maybe their only opportunity – to worship with their family member in a sanctuary. Family will not need to be concerned if their dementia member needs to get up and move around during the worship, or if the person with dementia speaks out during the service. It is understood that this may happen.
“First Congregational UCC got this idea of a special service from the Watertown UCC church. Their service has been in place for over a year, and attendance from the community continues to grow. The service at First Congregational will be modeled on Watertown’s, but with a few changes to customize it for this sanctuary.” It is designed for those who can no longer tolerate attending an hour-long service. It will be open to the public – all denominations who wish to attend are welcome.”
First Congregational is planning to complete Dementia Friendly training through the Aging & Disability Resource Center before the first service is held. There are handicapped accessible entries (including a covered drive-through on the south side of the building) and restrooms. Two former restrooms (one men’s and one women’s) have been converted into family restrooms, partly so that family members may easily accompany a dementia person if necessary. If you choose to attend and you see something that needs to be changed to accommodate people with dementia, please notify a church member.
For more information, please contact Rev. Missy Miller at 715-423-0350 or Pastor Susan Stein at 608-515-4491.