The other day I was having a conversation with an elderly clergyman.
We were discussing various things, and then I said that I no longer attend churches because the services are all so very different.
He questioned what I meant by this, not pushing his views, but he was interested in my reasons for giving up my religion.
I say giving up my religion!
But I am still a Christian, even though I never attend a church service these days, and as far as that is concerned, I like many thousands of others are still very religious even if we no longer go inside a church.
It's a long story I said, but it started around 12 years ago when I realised that my memory was going.
Until this time I has always been very religious, and as a boy in the church choir, I would attend three services perhaps each Sunday.
As an engineer I would go to church, but I would carry a pager for emergencies, and would leave the service if it went off.
How ever 12 years ago I started to forget how to do my job, something which shocked me, and I got very distressed because I did not understand what was happening.
All of my electrical training was disappearing, and it felt as if a virus had wiped my memory completely.
I was then very ill with Pnuemonia and my memory took a hammering again.
One day I went to church and realised that I no longer remembered the Lords Prayer.
I was totally devastated at this, and try as I might, I just could not remember the words.
When you forget the things like this, that you learnt as a child it can be very upsetting, and even worse when coupled with forgetting his to do your job
After trying for a few months, going over and over the words, I started to get to grips with it, and I felt really proud of myself.
However the next time my wife and I went to church I realised that the words of the Lords Prayer were totally different?
But I said I will push myself to go in the hope of getting the words right.
But then I heard that the church used a different version of this Lords prayer at every service, and to make things even worse, there were occasions when they would sing it.
I had learnt to sing and follow music as a child, but now I find it difficult to read the words while following the music.
As a boy chorister I remember singing Handles Messiah in Durham Catherdral. This was done by our own church choir, the Cathdreal choristers and another choir.
I vaguely remember this, but nowvI am unable to sing properly, and unable to read music.
In a vane attempt to sort things out, because memory lose, is something that thousands struggle with, I spoke to the local priest, but he just shrugged his shoulders and said that he could do nothing about it.
I then said, what about all of the elderly congregation with memory problems, people who attend every week, and pay your salary.
But I got no answer. So obviously the elderly and those with memory problems are nothing to do with the church.
To add insult to injury, I was once accused is staying with the past and not keeping up with modern times.
But we were taught the original forms of service and prayers as children, yet here it was being thrown out with the bath water so to speak.
At this time I had serious problems sleeping because of graphic nightmares, and would only go into a deep sleep at around 5-6 in the morning.
So I grasped the nettle by the thorns, and wrote to the local Bishop, explaining about my struggles with memory and nightmares.
When I got his reply I realised that the church simply did not care about anyone who has memory problems etc.
He simply told me to get up and attend the 8am service every Sunday, because it was all done to the original prayer book style, which I who remember.
I was so disgusted that I turned my back on my religion, or going to church.
This proved to me that even the so called caring Church of England, cared little or nothing for those of us with memory problems.
After I had finished the elderly priest looked at me and said that he agreed with everything I had said, and had himself tried to get things sorted out, because the church is relying on the elderly etc, to keep the churches going.
He also agreed that the Church of England etc, had brought problems on themselves by forgetting the very people that they should be looking after
So is it any wonder that those with memory problems or dementia, refuse to attend church these days, because it's become alien to them.
Is it any wonder that churches are empty these days?
Had it not have been for my daughter telling me about voice activated computer software, I would not be using a computer to keep myself active these days.