World leader in spiritual care advises HammondCare

A world leader in practical theology and spiritual care for older people, people with dementia and people with a disability will join HammondCare as a consultant from June 2015.

The Purple Bicycle Project, a process for accessing the spiritual needs of people with advanced dementia which he developed at the University of Aberdeen, is just one of the initiatives John will share during his time in Australia. Professor John Swinton, author of Dementia: Living in the Memories of God, will work with HammondCare to develop innovation in theology and spiritual practice in relation to older people and those living with dementia.

Changing views of people with dementia

HammondCare Chief Executive Dr Stephen Judd welcomed Prof Swinton’s appointment which he said would include collaboration in thought leadership, research, staff training and support.

“Prof Swinton was one of the most popular and incisive speakers at our 2014 international dementia conference and is highly regarded internationally for his extensive research, teaching and publications in the field of spiritual care and practical theology,” Dr Judd said.

“His recent book, Dementia: Living in the Memories of God, is exceptional and changes the way we think about people living with dementia, and perhaps even how we think about ourselves and God! It is in my top five books of the past 20 years!

“HammondCare has a deep commitment to providing holistic, individual care, including pastoral care, and we believe this partnership with Prof Swinton will further enhance our thinking and practice.”

'Thoughtful and genuinely spiritual'

In taking up the appointment, Prof Swinton said, “Hammond Care is a creative, thoughtful and genuinely spiritual organisation. I very much look forward to working alongside the people of HammondCare to help further develop the excellent work that is going on,” he said.

Prof Swinton has begun his time working with HammondCare, with a range of meetings and conversations with HammondCare staff and others between June 20 and 26, 2015.

Prof John Swinton’s profile

John Swinton is Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care in the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. He has a background in mental health and intellectual disability nursing and healthcare chaplaincy. He has researched and published extensively within the areas of theology and disability, mental health and spirituality and human well-being.

John is also the Director of Aberdeen University’s Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability.

His publications include - Mental Health: The Inclusive Church Resource (2014 - with Jean Vanier-D.L.T); Dementia: Living in the Memories of God (2012 Grand Rapids: Eerdmans); Disability in the Christian Tradition: A Reader (2014 - With Brian Brock-Grand Rapids: Eerdmans); Living Gently in a Violent World (John Swinton, Jean Vanier and Stanley Hauerwas-2006 IVP Press); Raging With Compassion: Pastoral responses to the problem of evil (2007 Grand Rapids: Eerdmans) and (2001) Spirituality and Mental Health/ Rediscovering the “forgotten” dimension (Jessica Kingsley Publishers).

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