MHA homes were founded by Revd Walter Hall and head office is in Derby, England. Since its inception the charity has been supported by the Methodist Church. The charity’s main aim is to give a voice to the older generation and to nurture their physical, mental and spiritual care. I had very little experience of the dementia condition before starting the chaplaincy. I have now received training in a variety of areas as part of my induction.
As a chaplain I am required to support the residents and their relatives, as well as the staff. Every week I hold a bilingual service and it is lovely to see the words of the hymns and psalms flowing back to the memory. I also work closely with the activities team and the music therapist. It is always a pleasure to welcome choirs and performers from local schools. I also work with a number of volunteers including members of Cytûn Waunfawr, Aberystwyth. Cytûn visits the home on a monthly basis and conducts Welsh-language services. I also serve on Sundays as part of the Methodist Church service plan. Ecumenical practice develops entirely naturally within the walls of Hafan y Waun.
Sadly some of our residents will have to say goodbye from time to time. I feel honoured to be able to assist families in arranging a funeral, preparing tributes and often officiating at the funeral service itself. It is a nostalgic time for relatives and staff at the home, and it requires a great deal of sensitivity. The experience of serving in various churches within Ceredigion, as well as working as a teacher and headteacher has helped me in my new role.
When Job was suffering physically and mentally and afflicted his friends came to comfort him. “They sat on the ground with him… No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”. Job 2:13.
I thank God for the opportunity to befriend all the residents of Hafan y Waun and as chaplain I have come to “sit with you”.