• Christmas 2017 08 January 2018 | View comments

  • 20th December 2017 | By David Jolley

    Tuesday and Thursday in the week beginning December 11th were special days with carol services at Bowdon Vale for Dementia Conversations and then older people and a group with Learning Difficulties, who come to a regular pop-in. There were more than 30 people at each occasion.

    The chapel at Bowdon Vale was opened 1883, housing a congregation which had begun to meet at a cottage in the village from 1858. As I understand it, Bowdon had few residents until the mid-1800s when the Earl of Stamford sold land to rich merchants of Manchester, who built mansion homes on the sandstone ridge which provided clean air and inspiring views over Cheshire. The Vale from the west of the ridge to the shore of the Bollin River had been home to brick yards – still celebrated in street names – but few people. It became the place where smaller houses were built which would accommodate the gardeners, coachmen and washing women who serviced the mansion families.

    The chapel was built on land donated by a wealthy architect and his family. It is of a simple design but has been modified over the years by the addition of a school room, the inclusion of heating and lighting, though it still remains without a telephone line!

    Services in the chapel benefit from the atmosphere generated by its wooden pews (original), a wooden pulpit – salvaged from another chapel which closed 50 years ago, an alter rail inherited from another chapel, an organ (not the original pipe organ but still providing good sound). It is a four dimensional scrapbook of life in Methodism here and nearby.

    One lady compared the feeling with that at another nearby church which has lively activities but no special place for worship. ‘This feels like real church’.

    Ros, our minister, involved people by as the nativity story unfolded with short readings and the popular carols. Graham’s playing carried the tunes sympathetically so that there was time for reflection as well as cheer. The candles of the Advent Ring were lit one by one by other members in attendance. We were surely part of this.

    Food, fellowship and games completed these afternoons. 

    We have an eye to continuing Conversations next year – starting with the newly fascinating research of possible treatment for Huntington ’s chorea: http://web.stanford.edu/group/hopes/cgi-bin/hopes_test/huntingtin-protein-and-protein-aggregation/

    Next meeting of Dementia Conversations will be January 9th 2018, starting at 2pm – Come along if you can.

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