Dementia and Spirituality: Hope on the Journey

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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2023, 6:45–8:15 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall or Online via Zoom. Optional community dinner at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family). This forum is in collaboration with St. James Cathedral.

Join online or in person at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral for a conversation titled Dementia and Spirituality: Hope on the Journey.

The evening will include a presentation from Dr. Thomas Grabowski from the UW Memory and Brain Wellness Center followed by a panel conversation reflecting on dementia and ministry with Father James Eblen, Sister Judy Ryan and the Very Rev. Steven L. Thomason.

Come learn more about what dementia is, its impact on people living with the disease and their caregivers, and ways to provide support along the journey.

Program is free, but registration is requested for in-person or online participation. Optional community dinner served at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family). Register using this form. If you choose to participate online, a Zoom link will be sent to registrants prior to the event. For assistance in registering, contact: or 206.323.0300 ext. 217


Learn more about the speakers:

Dr. Thomas J. Grabowski is a neurologist and medical director of the UW Memory Medicine Memory and Brain Wellness Center where he leads a provider team that diagnoses, treats, and supports patients living with memory loss or dementia. Dr. Grabowski has made patient and family wellbeing into a top priority in the clinic by helping people adjust to cognitive challenges over time and leveraging intact personal strengths. He also oversees a multi-disciplinary effort to further a precision medicine approach to Alzheimer's disease through the UW Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) and conducts research at the UW Integrated Brain Imaging Center (IBIC).


James Eblen has ministered as a priest in the Seattle Archdiocese for more than fifty years, half of them teaching in the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University. For the last ten years, James has provided liturgical ministry for residents at Providence Mount Saint Vincent in West Seattle and for retired women religious at the nearby Saint Joseph Residence. Ministry among these older adults has been my learning ground about dementia.



Sr. Judy Ryan has been a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary for 63 years. She earned her BA degree from Holy Names College at Fort Wright; and her Master's degree in Theology and Pastoral Ministry from Boston College. Her ministry has steadily evolved from high school teaching to years of campus ministry with students and faculty at Gonzaga University and San Jose State. As she began to feel her own aging and need to slow down, she readily accepted an invitation to be a pastoral and spiritual presence with her older Sisters in Community at Los Gatos, CA.  There she "fell in love" with elders, completed CPE training as a Chaplain and spent the next 17 years in spiritual care with elders living in residential care: at Providence Center in Olympia, WA and  Mount St. Vincent's here in West Seattle. These were 20 privileged years of learning wisdom from these men and women who daily shared their living, dying and entering into eternal life with her.


The Very Rev. Steven L. Thomason has served as Dean of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle since 2012 after serving churches in his native state of Arkansas. He was ordained a priest in 2004 after graduating from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from University of Arkansas (1991) and practiced medicine for more than 20 years as family doctor and hospice/palliative care specialist before turning to parish ministry full-time in 2012.

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