Dementia-friendly church service: All Saints Day (2021)

This week’s nondenominational worship service video celebrates All Saints Day (the day after Halloween), a remembrance of loved ones who have passed on and an encouragement to us who remain.

As always, this service is suitable for older adults with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Watch the 48-minute worship service for All Saints Day here.

One more note: Earlier today I found a typo on my YouTube lyrics for “I’ll Fly Away.” It is now corrected and reuploaded. Enjoy!

The History of All Saints Day

As I get older, I have a greater appreciation for this time of year, as summer’s fading vibrancy melts into fall’s painfully beautiful decay: nature’s rhythmic reminder of life and death.

Fittingly, according to church tradition, the end of October and beginning of November signal a time when the veil between this world and the next is especially thin. That’s why various cultures celebrate Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day around this time.

More than 2,000 years ago, the Celts’ harvest festival, called Samhain (pronounced sow-INN), was considered a time when the spirits of the departed mingled more freely with this world.

According to, by the 9th century, Christianity’s influence blended with Celtic rites, including Samhain. “In 1000 A.D., the church established All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. The All Saints’ Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse, meaning All Saints’ Day). [The] night before, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.”

In some parts of Latin America, this between-worlds celebration is now the highly decorated Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). My mother, who is Costa Rican, remembers visiting her town’s cemetery on Dia del Muertos, Nov. 2, every year (“but we didn’t have all those [Day of the Dead] decorations”) to honor and remember relatives who had passed on.

I hope you enjoy this church service’s reflection on the saints, past and present, who surround and encourage us.

Peace be with you,

Candles photo by Henk van der Steege on Unsplash

Cemetery photo by Norbert Staudt on Unsplash

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