Jane Stephens was appointed as Local Missional Leader to the Keystone Project based at Great Crosby St Luke on 18th June this year. Jane spoke to us about her role within the Keystone Project that was initially set up as a support group for carers of a loved one living with dementia.
“My background is in nursing and health Visiting. In 2007 I met Colin, the man who is now my husband. Both his parents had dementia. His father was already in a care home while his mother was at home. Colin was holding down a full time responsible job and caring for his mother. I watched his health deteriorate but could do little as I was still working in Manchester and his mother never really accepted me as she believed she was Colin's wife and I was the other woman. At her funeral in 2012 the vicar taking the service commented that what was needed was a support group for carers of a loved one living with dementia. A light went on in my head and I thought "I can do that." After seeking out some training, praying for a team to come forward the first Keystone support group started in February 2013 with 3 carers. By the end of that year there were 3 groups; one specifically for carers of those living with dementia under the age of 65, the initial group and a dementia cafe. There are now 8 groups running supporting over 50 carers and 12 cared-for.
In early 2015 Keystone was being discussed by some people in church and I found myself having to fight my corner that Keystone was mission. In the groups 70% of those who attend have no church background and as I looked around one group I felt an urgency to share my faith with them. I looked into becoming a Local Missional Leader and at each step God spoke and encouraged me to continue with the process. I was commissioned in June this year.
Keystone holds services suitable for those living with dementia 3 times a year; Christmas, Easter and during the Week of Prayer for dementia in March. After some groups we have introduced a time of prayer and so far everyone has stayed. In the teams I encourage a time of prayer before each group.”