Author Archives: Clive Price

Make your home dementia-friendly

A thought-provoking film was shared by Alzheimer’s Society at the Dementia Care Conference, which drew nearly 40 delegates from public and charity sectors – including Patricia Berry from MMHS.

In How I Made My Home Dementia-Friendly, Alzheimer’s Society ambassador Wendy Mitchell shares her story of living with the disease. The conference heard that dementia will affect more than a million people by 2025.


How do you keep in contact amid Coronavirus? One extended family found an answer. Our own correspondent Rachel Dawson shares the story. ‘My cousin set up a Facebook family page,’ said Rachel, ‘a totally new thing for us – but quite easy.’ Plus there’s more content to encourage you in the latest Roof ‘n’ Roots:

  • Coronavirus advice for your wellbeing;
  • how to take care amid the new gardening boom;
  • how to set up assisted bin collections;
  • the story of one couple who found healing and a way back to Methodism.


New handbook is leaner and greener

Everything from rabbits to refurbishments, ponds to plumbing, gullies to gas boilers – it’s all covered in the plastic-free, eco-friendly version of the MMHS Residents’ Handbook.

Well known among the Society’s residents, the Handbook used to be a heavy plastic manual weighed down by laminated pages and complex graphics.


It has now been totally revised and refined – and is available as a free download from the MMHS website. Residents without online access can request a paper copy.

The Handbook remains essential reference material for residents, who can find out what to do about pets, how to report emergency repairs, contacting contractors – and much, much more.

For instance, did you know if repair work costs under £100 you can authorise a contractor to carry out the work immediately? MMHS will reimburse you on submission of a receipt.

And do you know where essential services are located around your home and how to isolate them – in the event of an emergency? If not, there’s a handy checklist for you.

In addition, there is a whole page of important phone numbers, ten indexed sections covering a vast range of vital household matters, and a ready-to-use maintenance log.


The Handbook points out that while the Society looks after big structural issues from roofs to floorboards, the resident is responsible for items like sheds and shelving.

Guidance is as comprehensive as ever – but on fewer pages. Our property and operations teams worked hard to reduce the publication from a whopping 77 pages to a more accessible 26 pages.

‘Our revised new Handbook covers MMHS services, your rights and your responsibilities,’ said CEO Mairi Johnstone. ‘It’s essential information for our ministerial residents.

‘The plastic Handbook is now a thing of the past. The present and the future are looking greener.’ You can obtain your free copy here.

Disabled writers champion social media

Social media used to have a bad press. But it’s good news for many people living with a disability or chronic illness.

Information and advice service Independent Living gathered people’s views on the role social media plays for them. Their findings are positive.


Lauren Matthewson of Access Your Life described social media as ‘an incredibly powerful platform’ for those living with a disability. ‘It allows us to connect with other people living with similar conditions,’ she said.

Lauren has learned to overlook the negativity that can be found on social media. But scrolling through comments online can be depressing – ‘particularly when I’m stuck in hospital and my feed is filled with pictures of everyone having fun!’ She has to remind herself that most people post life’s highlights, as opposed to their reality.

Carrie-Ann Lightley of AccessAble (pictured above) started out as a disabled travel writer online in 2010. She wanted to share her passion for travel with the rest of the world, and to show that accessible travel is possible.


‘The best feeling in the world is someone telling you they’ve had the confidence to book a trip, as a disabled person, because they’ve read your latest post,’ said Carrie-Ann.

Martyn Sibley of Disability Horizons (pictured below) believes social media gives everybody a voice. ‘For years, disabled people were not empowered to speak up,’ he said. But Martyn believes social media offers useful content, community support and debate forums. His vision is where governments, businesses and society fully value disabled people.

As a wheelchair user, Georgina Harvey of Chronillicles has found social media has been ‘life-changing’ – in a good way. ‘It makes me feel less alone in what I’m going through,’ she said. ‘It also shows me amazing ways I can customise my chair to make it feel more like my own!’ For the full story, visit here.

‘I’ve been social distancing for 29 years’

How do you make social distancing work? Here’s someone who lives like that all the time. Sister Mary Catharine Perry (pictured) shares some tips for staying home amid coronavirus fears.

For the past 29 years, I’ve chosen to practise social distancing. Of course, I and the 17 other nuns I live with don’t call it that.

We are formally called cloistered sisters, meaning we never leave our walled-off monastery in Summit, New Jersey, except for doctors’ visits or perhaps shopping for a specific item. We don’t go to parties or weddings or out to eat with friends. I often go months without leaving our eight-acre home.

The coronavirus is forcing many people across the world to stay home, limit outside contact — and in a way, start living life like cloistered nuns. As someone who has lived a life of separation, I’d like to share from my experience how you can make the best of it.

First, you need to establish structure.

Create a schedule. At the monastery, we wake up at the same time every day and get fully dressed. We have planned time for prayer, worship, work, eating and fun. Our days usually have a peaceful rhythm. This might take some experimentation – each household is different.

Second, be intentional and love others.

Call other people in your neighbourhood and ask how they are doing, if they need anything. At the monastery, the prayer bell rings and it forces me to stop working and to focus on why I’m really here. The monastery is not an apartment complex. We are an intentional community and it takes work to become one. It takes a deliberate way of life.

Third, use this time for self-reflection and relaxation.

Every day after lunch, my sisters and I take a 90-minute break of ‘profound silence’. We don’t move around the building or talk. We stay still. We read, pray or reflect. Sometimes, we will do a hobby quietly. Sometimes, we nap.

Stop. Be still. You can either waste this period of social-distancing and be frustrated, or you can choose to make it the best it can be.

This is an extract from an opinion piece by Sister Mary Catharine Perry – a cloistered nun with the Dominican nuns in Summit, New Jersey, USA – as told to Cassidy Grom. Copyright NJ Advance Media. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. You can find the original story here.

Richard is champion

It’s far more than dealing with ministers’ housing needs that has equipped Revd Richard Teal as President Elect of the Methodist Conference.

Encountering floods, miners’ strikes, shipyard closures ­- and the aftermath of horrific shootings – have also helped make him uniquely qualified for his latest role.


Richard has just stepped down as a long-serving board member for the Methodist Ministers’ Housing Society, to make room for this new appointment.

MMHS are so proud of Richard’s achievement, they have featured his story on the front cover of the latest edition of their news publication, Roof ‘n’ Roots.

The article points out how Richard made such a mark in his pastoral ministry, one newspaper headlined him as ‘The clergyman who championed Cumbria’.

It was while serving churches in Cumbria that Richard comforted flood victims and, in a separate incident, survivors of one of the worst criminal acts involving firearms in British history.

He was a fledgling minister in his early 20s when Richard found himself in the middle of mine closures and shipyard shutdowns.

Now he is looking forward to becoming President when the Methodist Conference opens at Telford next year.


‘I feel honoured, humbled, privileged and amazed,’ is how he described his response to news of his appointment.

Richard was a board member of MMHS for nine years. Based in London, the Society has been working for more than 70 years to house retired presbyters and deacons.

The Winter 2019 edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots can be downloaded for free here.


Revd Richard Teal – a long-serving member of our board – has become President Elect of the Methodist Conference! We’re so proud of our Richard, we asked him to share his story. We also discovered that one of our residents, Revd Joyce Barrass, was one of the first UK Methodist mission partners to Bolivia. It’s humbling how much treasure we have as a housing charity. Here are more contents:

  • how an old oak wardrobe magically became a clock;
  • home care tips;
  • a reflection for winter relaxation;
  • practical ways to keep warm this season.

Have fun in the sun – with care

Take simple steps so fun in the sun doesn’t become holiday in hospital. That’s the message from the NHS as warmer weather has been hitting these shores.

Chief nursing officer for England Ruth May is encouraging households to take common sense precautions and follow the NHS top tips like – drinking plenty of water, using high-factor sunscreen and taking allergy medicine where needed.


The risk of serious illness is much higher for older people. ‘The NHS will be there always for anyone who needs it,’ said Ruth. ‘But everyone can help by checking in on vulnerable friends and neighbours.’

She added that people should ‘talk before they walk’ and join the hundreds of thousands receiving fast and free advice on the best course of action from the website or 111 phone line.

Too much sun can affect everyone. Some are more at risk to the danger of hot weather including – those over 75, people with serious chronic conditions and mobility problems – or those who’ve had a stroke. People on certain medications must be careful, too. Here are ten tips for coping in hot weather:


– shut windows and shades when it’s hotter outside, opening windows when it’s cooler;
– avoid sun during the hottest part of the day (11am-3pm);
– use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed;
– have cool baths or showers and splash yourself with cool water;
– drink plenty of fluids – water, lower-fat milks and tea and coffee are good options;
– listen to alerts on TV, radio and social media about keeping cool;
– plan ahead to ensure you have enough food, water and medications;
– identify your coolest room;
– wear loose, cool clothing – a hat and sunglasses outdoors;
– check up on friends, relatives and neighbours.

(Photo: Clive Price)

How to pray about housing needs

Pray for those longing for a home – such as the UK’s 320,000 homeless people and 69 million displaced souls worldwide. That’s the message of our resource which raises awareness of housing needs.

Octave offers prayers not only for MMHS residents, staff and Board members – but also for carers, homeless people, refugees and housing policy makers.


Available as a free download from the Society’s website, Octave takes the user through eight days of reflection. A limited print edition of this 12-page book was launched at the recent Methodist Conference 2019 in Birmingham.

‘We pray for all those who long to be settled in a place they can call home,’ says Octave. Written by MMHS Board member and resident Revd Glynn Lister, the book is designed by Lindisfarne Scriptorium.

Octave is based on an ancient Christian practice of an eight-day prayer journey. Each day focuses on a different topic, following the same format – a reading, a prayer and an extract from a hymn. ‘Start somewhere and finish somewhere,’ said Glynn. If you get lost in the middle, that’s fine, too.’


He chose the ‘octave’ style as a Christian tradition since earliest times. ‘From the Latin octava (eighth), “octave” is the eighth day after a feast,’ Glynn explained. ‘The word is also applied to the eight-day period of the feast.

‘In those pioneering centuries, octaves were created for Easter, Pentecost, Epiphany, Christmas, saints’ days – and in modern times, the Octave Of Prayer For Christian Unity. Even The Beatles sang Eight Days A Week!’

Glynn approached the project with a simple philosophy – prayer is all about ‘letting your mind wander in the presence of God’. MMHS seeks to meet the housing and housing related needs of retired Methodist ministers of limited means, and their spouses, and their widows and widowers, and to offer support for their wellbeing.

Download Octave for free. Print out your own booklet for church or home use. You can access any or all of the following layouts:

A4 version

A5 version

Double-sided format

(Photo: Clive Price)

How to celebrate housing ministry

Residents, families, friends and supporting churches can celebrate more than 70 years of ministry with us – thanks to a suite of worship resources produced by members of our staff and board.

Board member Glynn Lister, Communications Manager Clive Price and former MMHS Vice Chair Ros Peedle have compiled a whole host of materials for simple services of celebration – with the help of artist Mary Fleeson and designer Mark Fleeson from Lindisfarne Scriptorium, along with hymn writer Andrew Pratt.

These worship aids are based around the biblical idea of blessing the home. They are available as free downloads for you to use in your church, small group or for your own times of devotion.

All you need to do is click on the links to access the professionally designed PDF documents. Load them onto your tablet PC, laptop or just print them off to enjoy them with your church or small group:

Backstory and sheet music – a basic introduction to the work of MMHS.

A short service – a simple act of prayer and thanksgiving for personal or small group use.

An act of worship and thanksgiving – a full service of reflection for use at church.

A blessing liturgy – bless your home with this profound act of dedication.

A hymn for MMHS – music and words of a specially written hymn for the 70th anniversary.

Lindisfarne Scriptorium is a small business based on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne that produces artwork and books that draws the viewer into an experience of prayer, meditation and blessing. Please visit to find out more.