Saturday, December 03, 2011
Our Pastoral Care worker and general "force of nature," Beth, created a list of all the people who we might consider shut-ins recently. The list included those who live in seniors' residences and nursing homes, as well as those who are seldom able to get out and about. It was so long I did a count and there were over fifty names. So we have a small congregation of people who don't actually come to worship for the most part but still feel very connected to St. Paul's and to their faith.
We do our best to provide spiritual support for this gang but it is a growing challenge as the congregation ages. I often do battle with the guilt of not keeping up. Thank God for Beth! Not only is she a caring visitor, she has done an exceptional job of connecting pastoral visitors with these individuals so they aren't "out of sight, out of mind."
I had lunch this week with one of my evangelical colleagues who has started a new congregation in Bowmanville in the past five years. He is a very likable guy and we chatted about the similarities and differences in our ministries. I mentioned this group of seniors and he replied that he doesn't have one person in this category. No one.
I believe that we must honour this group of people who are, after all, more than a tenth of our congregation, even though we don't see them. I feel that as a society we should respect our elders and even more so in the church. Once again I have used the image created by artist Gary Crawford for the New Creed booklet and the phrase "In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone."
What are your thoughts?