I am gathering together a small collection of books all published by Jessica Kingsley who is certainly one of the most innovative and ground-breaking publishers working in this       field.

Their list covering a range of books on dementia is well worth examining.  ( http://www.jkp.com )

These first two books handle at first hand the experience of living with dementia

People with Dementia Speak out

Lucy Whitman  2015 JKP 304 pages £14.99


Whatever the hell happened to my brain? Living beyond dementia.

Kate Swaffer 2016 JKP 391 pages £13.99

Whitman has gathered together 23 people from diverse backgrounds and in a well-organised book there is a deeply moving range of accounts of experiences of living with dementia. There is honesty and a searing articulation of frustration and fear. The cumulative effect of the devastating impact of memory loss on people’s lives is both moving and disturbing. The individual accounts of how identity is broken down and reframed service as a reminder of the life changing effects of dementia on people and their families.

My only regret about this text is that it probably will not receive as wide a readership as it might. We need surely to embrace this devastating condition as belonging to the whole community as we attempt to work out what makes the human flourishing as we hold all those who are vulnerable. It demands that we refashion what it might mean to be human and limited and bounded by our bodies and brains. In other words all of us can learn about how to live well as we attend to those who struggle to maintain well-being. There is a quality, integrity and life to these accounts which we can all learn from.

I should also add that there is a comprehensive and helpful range of resources and further reading at the back of the book along with a clear glossary. Let Prof Graham Stokes have the final word (global director of dementia care at BUPA)

“for some who read this book the experience will be an epiphany. Therefore might it be possible that what we do to help a person with dementia, in some way to be kind to them, is diminished only by the limits we place on our ambition, imagination and humanity’ ( page 259).

Kate Swaffer  was 49 years old when she was diagnosed with dementia. In this book, she
describes  her experiences of living with dementia, exploring the effects of memory difficulties, loss of independence, leaving long-term employment, the impact on her teenage sons, and the enormous impact of the dementia diagnosis on her sense of self.

There is a profoundly challenging honesty about the experience and especially the stigma associated with dementia and the many inadequacies in care and support. Kate wants to change the way we both think about and respond to dementia and offers some radical suggestions about how a community might hold all those who because of dementia are taken into the difficult area of needing to develop a new and meaningful personal identity.
Let Kate have the final word here: and as I share it I hope to that this book will be very widely read.



These two books remind us that as well as listening to the experiences of people living with dementia there are significant political, economic and social challenges to improving and developing care.

I picked up the first book (Qigong for well-being in dementia and ageing by Stephen Rath JKP 2015 168 pages £15.99 ) with some ambivalence and curiosity but soon moved beyond misunderstanding and prejudice to see how traditional Chinese medicine can support emotional and physical well-being in people with dementia. This book presents a set of exercises and breathing techniques which I tried and found them to be very restorative! The book is carefully illustrated and deserves some careful attention amidst our reductionist and medicalized  approach to care.

Person Centred Dementia Care (by Dawn Brooker and Isabel Latham JKP 2015 224pages £17.99) has very quickly established itself as a leading textbook in guiding healthcare professionals to improve care from diagnosis to the end of life for people with dementia. It embraces a range of contexts and offers guidelines for practice. It is well written, carefully organised and accessible for a busy healthcare professional. The text is clearly earthed in reflective practice and draws upon up-to-date research and development in this area.

Although at first glance a technical book with a limited market the authors open up a refreshingly broad grasp of an individual living with dementia and each of the chapters lead us into a richer understanding of what person centred care should look like. There are many places in my own experience where I should like to take this book and ask that it be used to change care.


James Woodward

Principal Sarum College




Spiritual Accompaniment and Counselling: Journeying with psyche and soul

Edited by Peter Masden Gubi 

Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2015  paperback 192 pages  £16.99

Here at Sarum College ( www.sarum.ac.uk )  our two year certificate in spiritual direction is very popular to a wide variety of individuals who wish to build upon, reflect and improve their practice. In a world dominated by individualism, consumerism and materialism all of us need places and people we can draw upon for support, friendship and direction. This is particularly the case when we face crossroads, choices or crises.

As I write (10th July 2016) the General Synod of the Church of England has gone into private session to continue its deliberations about how far and to what extent it can embrace the agenda of inclusivity around gender and sexuality. While there are strong feelings on all sides there are far too many individuals and groups who regard Christianity with suspicion and even would want to place a significant health warning to its ability to embrace the ever wider and sometimes more complex horizons of people’s identity and experience. One might argue that there is a great deal that is lost in this political marginalisation. Put another way – who do we turn to when life becomes difficult and perplexing? The danger for the church is that its spiritual wisdom is overlooked in favour of therapy and therapeutic practice.

This volume of essays, nine in all, attempts very successfully to explore what it might be like to attune to the spiritual processes  of other people especially in the area of crisis, abuse, grief and pain. The essays intelligently explore the lifespan and how forgiveness and wholeness might be embedded into practice. The Christian tradition has a great deal to learn from the way in which psychotherapy and counselling seek to embrace a spiritual dimension. One might argue that if one wants to look for creativity and life in matters of the soul and spirit then it is to the liminal edges that one might look. These essays represent the very best of that creative liminal margin.

These are carefully written and skilfully edited essays. They deal with relationship, forgiveness, spiritual crisis, pain, suffering, lifespan development, grief and spiritual abuse. There is an excellent essay by Lynette Harborne on the importance of supervision and as ever with Jessica Kingsley books the book is attractively printed with a clear index and bibliography. Clarity and skilfulness in presenting complex material is one of this book’s key strengths.

Gubi writes in his introduction that this book is written to heighten practitioners awareness of the spiritual dimension in listening (page 22) – what follows in the subsequent  170 pages will stimulate, illuminate and expand horizons in such a way that we might all be challenged to work for human flourishing and societal well-being.

James Woodward

Principal Sarum College




Making the case for the relevance of pastoral care today, this book explores the role of pastoral care through the prism of music. Using musical analogies, the author provides a new way of understanding and practising pastoral care, grounded in practical theology. Challenging overemphasis on mission, he shows that pastoral care remains essential to the life of the church, especially when engaging with extreme situations such as dying, suffering or war, and considers the role of pastoral carers in the specific pastoral encounter and in the life of the church in general.

Here is my commendation

‘We live in interesting and complex times. Modernity has given us choice and freedom to shape our destiny in many, often competing, directions. The Church is only one place where the shape of human experience is opened up and attended to in our struggle to flourish. This context provides us an opportunity to reimagine how theology and its practice might contribute to well-being. Performing Pastoral Care is a serious and substantial contribution to our understanding of this practice as it calls us all to rediscover our pastoral heart with imagination and creativity. Interdisciplinary in its focus – music and theology both blend and dialogue to provide a stimulating, intelligent and well-organised narrative. The reader is asked to look outwards through a number of lenses and using a variety of methods to engage with the paradoxes and ambiguities of human experience. It succeeds in providing a significant contribution to the literature around music and pastoral theology and its carefully organised chapters offer practical tools for the resourcing of the shapes of pastoral activity and performance. I hope that it will be widely used as part of the ongoing conversation about what might need to be transformed in and through us as we seek to reach out and serve our world and its peoples. I shall be adding it to core reading lists for my students.’
– Dr James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College



A Learning Guide by Elizabeth MacKinlay and Corrine Trevitt

Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2015


I have recently experienced the hospitalisation of a close relative and, once again, have been surprised by the culture of care in our Hospitals. There is a kind of functionalism that serves to depersonalise an individual, their family and their well-being. This was highlighted with an inadequate discharge note which is full of inaccuracies. Even in this task focused culture someone took little care over getting the facts of this individuals life right.

Human beings are storytellers. Our lives are full of them – our lives are a story to be explored, reflected upon and communicated. Of course one of the fears that many of us have is that if our memory fades somehow we will become so forgetful that we hardly know who we are. This is particularly complex when we look beyond the physical or indeed the factual to the deeper and profounder shape of our personhood as spiritual beings. In other words the spiritual is so very often a undeveloped dimension of our living and loving.

MacKinlay and Trevitt have produced a map with  insightful, clear, comprehensible instructions that will help facilitate spiritual reminiscence. This volume emerges out of a research project that took place in care communities in Sydney and Canberra. Wherever possible the authors seek to avoid technical language which gets in the way of listening and speaking to older people who have dementia. Although a relatively short volume the breadth and depth of experience of dementia is self obvious through these carefully organised chapters.

This learning guide falls into two parts. The first opens up the reader to some learning about what it might mean to work with people who have dementia. Spiritual care, dementia and communication are explained in chapters 1,2 and 3. Reminiscence work, spiritual reminiscence and how this take shape in the process of small groups is explored in chapters 4, 5 and 6.

Part two offers a six week guide to a weekly session which explores particular topics in spiritual  reminiscence. These are life meaning; relationships, isolation and connecting; hopes,fears and worries; growing old and transcendence; spiritual and religious beliefs and practices.

Two appendices with references for further reading and an index complete this mapping out of the journey of reminiscence therapy.

This reviewer has not yet had the opportunity to use some of this material but certainly intends to do so as a way into exploring the spirituality of ageing with ministerial students, clergy and others engaged in pastoral care. There is a strong sense from using some of the material for myself that the process works creatively and practically. This is very important because so often there is a widespread acknowledgement of the importance of the spiritual but very little help in applying what that might mean in practice when applied to people’s experience and lives.

I would wish, of course, to take these exercises into that busy acute ward where amidst the activity there was so little attention to the individual. My fear is that so much will need to change in how we think and deliver healthcare so that it becomes more whole person and person focused. Our storytelling may need to get political as we agitate for change!

In this respect this learning guide not only offers us practical help but it also suggests that we need to re-vision the way we practice care with older people.

I hope is widely read and used.

James Woodward

Sarum College Salisbury


059  Sarum College 25thFeb14From the early Middle Ages, Salisbury was an important centre for theological training, its great cathedral and Close attracting students and scholars from the whole of Europe.

Cathedral from Sarum College

The history of theological study begins with St Osmund and the completion of the first cathedral at Old Sarum in 1092. After Old Sarum was abandoned in favour of New Sarum (or Salisbury, as it came to be known) and the new cathedral was built in the 1220s, several colleges were established as well as a medieval school of theology here on the site of 19 The Close.

Sarum College facade with blossom May 2004

The oldest part of Sarum College is the main building at the front of the site which was built in 1677. Attributed to Sir Christopher Wren, it was built for Francis Hill, a distinguished London lawyer and Deputy Recorder for Salisbury. He chose a particularly striking site, at the north end of Bishop’s Walk, facing directly down to the Bishop’s Palace, now the Cathedral School.


Walter Kerr Hamilton, Bishop of Salisbury, established the Theological College here in 1860 – using an anonymous donation to buy the house (then no. 87) from Miss Charlotte Wyndham – and the first students arrived in January 1861.


Weigall, Arthur Howes, c.1836-1894; Walter Kerr Hamilton (1808-1869), Bishop of Salisbury (1854-1869)

Weigall, Arthur Howes; Walter Kerr Hamilton (1808-1869), Bishop of Salisbury (1854-1869)

In the 1870s William Butterfield, foremost church architect of his day, and best-known for Keble College, Oxford, was commissioned to add a residential wing to provide accommodation for students, and then, in 1881, a chapel and library.


In 1937 further extensions designed by William Randoll Blacking were added, study bedrooms for students and a meeting room that became the new library and is now the Common Room.


Eight students of Salisbury Theological College were killed in the Great War (1914 -18), and a fine memorial in the Chapel records their names.


During the Second World War (1939-45) the College was taken over by the women of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women’s branch of the British Army, and Queen Mary paid them a visit. Apparently the creepers which covered the front of the building were hastily removed, as the old Queen did not like them!


In October 1971 the two theological colleges in Salisbury and Wells merged and became Salisbury & Wells Theological College. The additional students required more space, and two further extensions were built: a three storey block of flats and study bedrooms at the eastern end of the Butterfield building (the East Wing), and a new chapel (now the Royal School of Church Music’s administrative centre), refectory and library were added.


In 1994 the Salisbury & Wells College closed, and the following year Sarum College was established to provide ecumenical theological education, including courses, conferences, events and hospitality as well as a home for ministerial training through STETS (Southern Theological Education and Training Scheme).


Since then, restoration and alteration work has been carried out by architect Keith Harnden, including a new bookshop and reception area. In 2006 the new link building joining the 1677 and 1877 buildings and incorporating lift access won the 2006 Salisbury Civic Society’s Conservation award.


In early 2007 the five Wren rooms were transformed from servants’ attic quarters to beautiful en-suite bedrooms with wonderful views across the Close to the cathedral. In 2008, the Burnet and Hamilton meeting rooms were refurbished.


2010 marked the 150th anniversary of theological education on this site and 15 years of ecumenical learning as Sarum College.


The college dining room was refurbished in 2011, and 2013 saw the completion of the refurbishment of the Victorian wings, bringing the total number of en-suite bedrooms to forty. In 2014 the kitchen was also refurbished.


In February 2015 Sarum College merged with STETS to once again offer ministry training directly.

008  Sarum College 25thFeb14

Sarum College Library


The library at Sarum College was created in 1860 with the formation of the Salisbury Theological College. As an initial deposit it received the 274-volume collection of Bishop Walter Kerr Hamilton which mostly comprised nineteenth century pamphlets, tracts, sermons and charges. Over the next century the collection grew. The college merged with the Wells Theological College in 1971, and the library was given a further major boost in 1998 when it inherited several thousand books from the Sowter and Clerical Library that had previously operated from Church House.


Today the library is primarily an academic resource to support Sarum College courses, local clergy and anyone with an interest in theology, ecclesiastical and local history. Located in three rooms, the collection consists of books, journals, newspapers, a music resource, photocopying, word processing and internet facilities, as well as space to study.



Present Day


Sarum College is an ecumenical centre for Christian study and research where our passion is learning that nourishes the human spirit. Welcoming people of all faiths and none, we offer space and time for enquiring minds to grow in wisdom and courage.

Bookshop 3

Sarum College runs courses in specialist areas of Christian spirituality, leadership, liturgy and worship, ministry training, theology, and the arts.  We have five postgraduate programmes which can lead to a certificate, diploma or MA degree, as well as a diverse range of non-accredited short courses. Sarum college also hosts a number of special events throughout the year, including lectures and conferences, art exhibitions and lunchtime concerts.


Our education, accommodation and hospitality are available to all, whether you’re studying on one of our courses, staying the night as a bed and breakfast guest, hiring one of our meeting rooms or just popping in to enjoy a home-made meal.



Crucible : The Journal of Christian Social Ethics April 2016


What kind of Leadership?


The four articles that follow in this edition of Crucible all take leadership as a starting point to reflect upon the nature of the Church and its exercise of power and authority in changing and complex times. This area of discourse is hugely contested. Each of us will have a range of experiences of the way others exercise of leadership which may or may not feed into how we ourselves aspire to lead.

In the unchartered waters in which the Church finds itself a key responsibility of any leader is to be one who questions; a person who asks questions – of God, the Church and of the wider community.

Any leader at this time, but perhaps especially in the Church will be aware of the effects of a rapid pace of change. These are times of transition when the gift of wisdom is required to discern what should be taken into the future and what ought to be left behind. It may be that we have to let go of the shape of the Church as it was or is and allow it to be re-configured around the new realities God is presenting to us, rather than the realities to which we tried to be faithful in a previous age. There is both a sense of excitement and stress for many leaders, seeking to appropriately re-imagine the Church for tomorrow while still ministering in the ever-demanding Church of today.

A clergy leader is a liminal figure, living in the border­land between the church and the world, the present and the future, inherited church and emerging church. Speaking at a conference on church growth, Eddie Gibbs, an Anglican priest and teacher at Fuller theological seminary summed the situation up like this:

‘We now have a generation of leaders who do not know how to lead within a con text of rapid and chaotic change. We were trained to map read on well-marked roads, not navigate on stormy seas. I believe the changes are significant and irreversible – while tomorrow continues to arrive ahead of schedule, yesterday can never be revisited.’ (July 2001 my notes)

Reflecting on these articles there is one key element to a shared commitment to good leadership that I think is worth drawing out and reflecting upon. It is obvious but no less important despite significant difficulties in practicing this virtue. We need, perhaps, above all a leadership that can listen. This will take time. This is a radical commitment to context, communities and individuals.

In 1982 I spent a year as a nursing auxiliary at St Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham, Kent, fortunate enough to work alongside Dame Cicely Saunders who was the medical director and an inspiration to many others in what is now the world-wide Hospice Movement. She was a leader of rare skill and in a letter sent to me before my ordination reminded me of the key relationship between leadership and listening. She wrote: ‘If someone is in a climate of listening, he or she will say things they wouldn’t have said before’.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, to listen is ‘to hear attentively, to give ear, to make an effort to hear something’. This is a gift that frees itself from frenetic activity, obsessive and controlling master plans and strategic approaches to growth and success. Cicely showed me how listening requires constant practice and indeed communicates mystery and truth at a deeper level than words.

We should also note that it is significant that our English word for ‘obedience’ is derived from two Latin words -ob and audire- which mean to ‘listen keenly’. As Bill Kirkpatrick observes in his book The Creativity of Listening, listening has three meanings: The first is to hear; the second is like the meaning of the French ‘connaitre’ – to understand; and the third is the command to pay attention. In the religious life, obedi­ence is listening.

If it is true therefore that we are living at a time when the church is being pushed to the edges there is a danger that all leaders need to be aware of: that of being so preoccupied with survival, its people are unable to step outside of themselves and their own concerns to rethink, or re describe a larger reality. Self obsession does not usually produce energy courage or freedom. If these are exile times then let us be aware of the unhealthy mixture of fear and nostalgia because that will sap us of energy to re imagine a robust and different future. Leadership must call people to yearn to live dangerously and tenaciously in a world where faith is misunderstood or pushed to the edges.


Leadership therefore must listen and nurture a way of life that is devoted to the practiced art of listening. . This is why Benedict says: ‘Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart’. In the immediate context in which he is speaking, Benedict is referring to the words of the Lord as they are expressed in the Rule, and for the benefit of and ministry of a particular community. Listening leadership can teach us that we can listen for the sounds of God anywhere and everywhere – there is nowhere God is not, and no one or no means by which he cannot speak. Once that barrier is recognised, and down, more listening is bound to be possible.


Thomas Merton may well offer a word in season as through his writings he demonstrates a radical commitment to a kind of ‘seeing’ and listening that under­pins all effective leadership, not simply because of what is ‘seen’, but the way it is seen.


We hope that this edition will stimulate further thought and action about what kind of leadership might be exercised in these changing, challenging and creative times.


James Woodward

Sarum College


2016SarumLectures1[1]The Sarum lectures have a long and distinguished history in the life of the Cathedral Close. They are a partnership between Sarum College and the Cathedral and this year we are looking forward to four lectures from our Diocesan Bishop, the Right Rev Nicholas Holtham. Here is an outline of the lectures.


Renewing Hope – Pray, Serve, Grow.

The one thing the bishop cannot delegate is the ethos and culture of the diocese. My concern in the Diocese of Salisbury is to Renew Hope through the core activities of prayer and service so that people grow as individuals and communities in the way of Jesus Christ. These 4 Sarum Lectures draw on my experience as a parish priest as well as a bishop and explore aspects of this central concern: ‘Renewing Hope – Pray, Serve, Grow’.


Lecture One : Being Human: The Renewal of Pastoral Theology


The Church of England is seeking to re-imagine Christian ministry for the 21st Century. A hundred years ago during the First World War, Dick Sheppard was the Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields and “the most influential parish priest the Church of England has ever known”. He could be said to have re-imagined Christian ministry for a substantial part of the Church in the 20th Century. His concern was for the love of Christ and his care was of people, not statistics. His approach to ministry and mission gives insight into the task facing the contemporary Church.

 Lecture Two: Engaging Arts and Minds: A Sort of Christian Apologetics


There has been a renaissance in the relationship between Christianity and the arts. There is an enormous willingness on the part of artists to explore meaning and faith creatively and with imagination. Whilst there might be safety for the Church in accepting only the work of Christian artists, the more important engagement is with good art that respects its Christian context. It makes us bigger people and deepens both our cultural life and the life of faith.

Lecture Three: A Changing Climate: On Care For Our Common Home

Among Christians there has been an ecumenical convergence about the environment and what Pope Francis called ‘the care for our common home’. This is an urgent task that all people need to address. It is so critical an existential problem as to overwhelm our traditional divisions and relativize them almost to the point of extinction. Following the Paris Climate Change agreement, how are we to respond to the care of God’s creation?

Lecture Four: Renewing Hope: The Profligate Generosity of God

The Church mis-describes itself when we focus too much on statistics. God’s ‘Easter people’ live with the hope of the resurrection in which life and love are of eternal significance. This matters for the world, not just for the Church. A message chalked on the ground in the Place de la Bourse in Brussels after the recent terrorism said, ‘Hope is our resistance’. We Christians are a people alive to the hope of heaven. We are called to live as we pray, that God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. God renews our hope.

We much look forward to the opening up of all of these areas of our imagination and practice and I hope that you will join us in this adventure.