For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
This one verse from the Gospel of St. John is arguably the best known verse in the whole Bible. It reminds us that God is a God of love, and that His Son Jesus willing came down to earth for us: living, dying and rising again. The promise is that anyone who believes in Jesus – anyone who has faith – will have life now and life everlasting. That is the Gospel – the Good News – in a nutshell.
Yet this is only one verse in one chapter in one book of the 66 books of the Bible. There are lots of other fabulous verses, but they can be hard to find in such a big book. Many older folk long to read the Bible, but the print is often too small. If the print is made bigger then the paper needs to be made thinner, or else the Bible becomes thicker and heavier. Thin paper tears, and heavy books are hard to hold.
Hammond Care, in conjunction with the Bible Society and Professor John Swinton (Aberdeen University), have produced a series of resources entitled “Faith for life: Biblical resources for people with dementia”. Instead of heavy books and thin paper, they are light-weight and made of long-lasting polymer – just like Australian banknotes!
In the booklet “Engaging with Faith for life” John Swinton writes: “The Faith for life materials open up the healing beauty of the Bible in ways that enable people with dementia and those offering care and support, to hold on to God even when the memory of God can seem elusive and difficult. This is an important resource for an important group of people”. You can read the whole booklet here: Engaging with faith for life.
Page 10 of this booklet explains how the resources were developed. They were “thoroughly tried and tested” by targeted focus groups, people living with dementia and their families, and HammondCare residential care staff and pastoral care staff. The end product incorporates the principles of good dementia design: size, materials, colours, images, font, language and format.
The resources fall into three different categories: Books, Cards (double-sided, with a picture on one side and text on the other), and an A-frame (the picture on the side facing the person with dementia and text on the side facing the person using it). I have included some scans of the cover and content of each resource, noting that they are protected by copyright.
Jesus loves me: presents the love of Jesus simply and clearly.
Time with Jesus: provides colourful, interactive devotional moments celebrating the life and teaching of Jesus.
He’s got the whole world in His hands: contains devotions that relate to current events for those who enjoy following the news.
God is so good: provide evocative photos matched with clear and familiar devotional moments celebrating the goodness of God.
Words of Hope: a series of 20 devotional cards matching a beautiful photo with a familiar Bible verse and hymn.
Textures of God’s love: encourages devotional engagement with God’s love expressed through the Bible and in beautiful photos, familiar textures or objects and prayer.
Yesterday, today, forever: a collection of devotions on Psalm 23, The Lord’s prayer, Lent and Advent.
On page 3 of the “Engaging with Faith for life” booklet we read: “Those who have an active Christian faith or background can continue to interact with the Bible in ways that enable them to grow in their relationship with God. Those who are new to the Christian faith may discover the richness of God’s word”.
It is the hope of those who produced “Faith for life”, and my hope, that every reader may come to know the love of God. Through faith in Jesus may they enjoy the wonderful gift of eternal life.