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What next for Growing Old Grace-fully?

Our work for the past three years, in raising awareness of the contribution of older people in our parishes and helping to respond to their spiritual and practical needs, has been possible because of a generous gift from The Society of the Sacred Heart. This work has included production of our guide, “Welcoming Older People – ideas for and from parishes” – an 88 page resource to support parishes in this Diocese and beyond in cherishing the blessings of ageing and helping to overcome its challenges.  We still have printed copies available which can be ordered from Rachel on 07702 255142 or by emailing .

As our funding finishes at the end of this year, we are taking the opportunity to think about where we should focus our efforts from 2019 onwards.

Please help us by taking 3 minutes to complete our survey on how your parish welcomes older people here 

Easter Newsletter

resurrection crossThis Eastertide,
May we be blessed with the promise of rebirth wherever we are and whoever we may be.
May the birds carol and rejoice that we are all alive under one sky
May our spirits unfurl like a sunflower following the arc of light
And may we all feel the blessing of this good earth And rejoice in the good news of this Easter and a Joyful Springtime.
(adapted from an  Irish blessing)

Dear friend

After a long wet and windy Winter, what a joy it is to see the world around us coming back to life with spring flowers, fresh buds, blossoms, birds singing their hearts out, new born lambs. All these wonderful signs of life continually renewed.

At Growing Old Grace-fully we have been thinking and praying about where we need to focus our efforts in the coming year – a renewal of our approach.  We have asked the questions “What is the difference we want to make in the Diocese?” and “What are the changes we would like to see in the parishes relating to older people and later life by 2018?”

Our purpose has not changed.  We will continue to seek to raise awareness of the spiritual and practical needs of older people, and their contribution to our communities across the Diocese of Leeds.  We want to focus more of our efforts on inspiring and supporting practical actions within the parishes by:

  • Sharing best practice through our website
  • Helping create local solutions to local needs
  • Offering information, support and advice to parishes
  • Encouraging dementia-friendly parishes.

The spiritual needs of people with dementia, and their carers, is often overlooked.  To be a dementia-friendly parish is to find ways to include people with dementia so that they are helped to experience life in all its fullness.  Rachel Walker, our project worker, is a Dementia Champion and is leading a number of short sessions on Becoming a Dementia-Friendly Parish at:

  • St Joseph’s, Pudsey                 Monday 18th April, 7.30pm-8.30pm
  • St Walburga’s, Shipley            Tuesday 19th April, 7.45pm-8.45pm
  • Corpus Christi, Leeds 9          Wednesday 18th May, 7.00pm-8.00pm

dementia Autumn leaves imageTo understand how your parish can work towards becoming dementia-friendly, or to discuss other ways of valuing and supporting people in later life, please call Rachel on (07702) 255142 or email . 

God does not value people according to their memory and skills but loves each one of us unconditionally.   The work of Growing Old Grace-fully aims to help the Church to be aware of the effects of mental and physical diminishment on older members, but also to cherish the blessings of ageing… the potential and the joys.  Fr Ralph Woodall SJ writes:

old and young hands“The task and privilege of older people is to gather, appreciate more deeply and treasure the hints of God’s presence that they have known and generously to share the wisdom that they have received as gift from God.

It may be that the wisdom is still implicit: they have not quite appreciated how important have been those occasions in their lives where they have helped others or been helped by others.

Older members of the community should have no need to be independent; they can help others to realise how inter-dependence is part of God’s plan for our lives, for building his kingdom.

This can make older people very precious in the Christian community.”


Warmest thanks for your interest in and support of our work across the Diocese.

Every Blessing.

Pippa Bonner, Trustee                        Carol Burns, Trustee                     Anne Forbes, Trustee


 Paul Grafton, Chair                      Cath Mahoney, Trustee                 Mgr Peter Rosser, Trustee


Rachel Walker, Project Worker             Ann West, Trustee


New year, new plans

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come”   Alfred Tennyson

At Growing Old Grace-fully we have all sat down together at the beginning of this month to think about where we need to focus our efforts in the coming year.  We have asked the questions “What is the difference we want to make in the Diocese?” “What are the changes we would like to see in the parishes relating to older people and later life by 2018?” So like the Roman God Janus (from which January takes its name) who is depicted with two faces, one looking backwards and one forwards, we have found ourselves reflecting on past events whilst looking ahead to new possibilities.

One of the possibilities we would like to encourage, is to have more dementia-friendly parishes.  Growing Old Grace-fully have registered our plans to be dementia-friendly and you can view our Action Plans here .

If you think your Parish might be interested in working to become dementia-friendly, please call Rachel on 07702 255142 or email .  We can also offer Dementia Friends Information Sessions for Parish groups to help individuals have an understanding of dementia and the small things that you can do that make a difference.


May the God of new beginnings give us hope and encouragement as this New Year opens before us with all its challenges. And may God, creator, Son and comforter be with us now and always. Amen.