Archbishop Welby with John Swinton • Alex Baker
Adapted from a report by Gavin Drake, ACNS
A book about faith and dementia has received this year’s Michael Ramsey Prize by Archbishop Justin Welby.
The winning work, Dementia: Living in the Memories of God by John Swinton, “goes straight to the heart of tackling one of the most profound failures of our society: the failure to value people in other than economic terms and to see the dignity of the human person,” Welby said.
“John has written a book which is deeply challenging and brings to bear a coherent theological approach, with clinical background and understanding, to an issue that has touched many of us, and is one of the great issues of our society. He has done the church and our country a huge service.”
As part of the award, Swinton received £10,000.
“My hope is that this book helps us to recognize that in the Kingdom of God everything looks different,” Swinton said. “Even in something as apparently hopeless as dementia you can find possibilities, because God is a God who never forgets us, who says: ‘I will always be with you, I will always be for you, in all things at all times.’
“It’s not what we remember about ourselves that matters, it’s what God remembers about us; and that’s not just for people with dementia, that’s for all of us.”
The Michael Ramsey Prize was launched by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in 2005 to celebrate “the most promising contemporary theological writing from the global church.”
The prize is awarded every two to three years, and this marks the first time that Archbishop Welby presided. The prize commemorates Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1961 to 1974.