What Does Age Have to Do with It?
The Impact of Clergy Age on Churches
When I was ordained back in 1981, I accepted the call to serve St. Andrew’s UCC, a small congregation in the old industrial city of Reading, Pennsylvania. I was following a beloved, long-tenured pastor who had served for 27 years there. I was 26 years old at that time. When the local newspaper...
Small Groups: Big Connections
Connecting Through Small Groups: A Story
Last week, at the continuing care retirement community where I serve, the speaker for our senior class group that day called two minutes before class was to start and canceled. With a room full of residents waiting on the speaker, I told them she was unable to come. Rather than disbanding the group on...
I Will Remember for You Now…Until You Remember
My mom was diagnosed with vascular dementia several years ago, and she has had increasing memory problems. Mom is one of close to six million people living with dementia in the United States. Last Thanksgiving, Mom struggled to remember which grandchild was in each of her three daughters’ families. So, we took a family picture and labeled it with our...
Community of Friends
Community is a core concept that we value deeply at United Church Homes. When the Board, staff and residents gathered in 2015 to articulate a new vision, mission and values for the organization, community was mentioned a lot! In the final versions, it remained in our vision — United Church Homes: Where the Spirit creates abundant life in community
Signs of New Life
We moved to a new city last fall. My fall and winter attention focused on getting the inside of the house in order. We knew that we would focus on the yard and outside projects in the spring. With our list of projects complete for the first months in our home, the winter seemed to linger past February, well into...
Welcoming strangers is central to the Judeo-Christian tradition. It widens a circle of community with others. To include those we do not yet know creates opportunities to meet, greet and expand our understanding of others. This concept is grounded in the ancient Jewish understanding of shalom. The Biblical concept of shalom
embraces a communal sense of mind, body and spiritual...
Rest. What Rest?
What do death, sleep, music, sabbath and pauses from physical and mental exertion have in common? A simple four-letter word: Rest
. Recently, my spouse and I heard the Columbus Symphony
perform Mozart’s Requiem
. As I read the translation of the words I was surprised to realize that “requiem” means “rest.” Driving home, I had Dave Google this...
In our chapel, the entire back wall showcases a beautiful stained-glass window depicting Jesus’ final hours of freedom, praying in the garden of Gethsemane. Overwhelmed with sorrow, Jesus hunches over a large rock, praying, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39
Love: How Music Brings Abundant Life in Community
I serve a community where music is valued as one way to connect with others. Through our Music & Memory
program, several residents have an iPod personalized with music they love — music that means something to them. One of our residents loves her music but does not enjoy wearing her headphones. For this resident, who loves people...