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FAITH COMMUNITIES2021-07-01T01:30:06+00:00

FAITH
COMMUNITIES

SEE and READ Their Stories

The First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills applied STC™ to improve the quality of life of caregivers and care recipients across an entire church community. More than 40 of 150 members, from a wide variety of countries, were actively engaged.

Although, they are not in operation at this time, some of the participants were filmed pre-pandemic and asked about their feelings. Their efforts stand as a moving example of kindness in action.

One of the three coordinators explained: “It was a lovely thing that was emerging in our church. Between quarterly meetings, people volunteer for whatever they feel energized and able to do. Whenever a need arises, a team of 3-6 caregivers comes together to take up the charge.

Some of what they had to say:

First Presbyt. Church of Forest HIlls NY

“We have all experienced what happens when one person shoulders too much responsibility as a caregiver. We’re not letting that happen here,” explains a father of two from Jamaica.

“Our Care Crew needs to grow and continue for a long, long time,” attests a father of six from Zambia.

A Colombian mental health professional adds: “It’s really nice to have a group like this in our church, where meetings open and close with prayer, and relationships grow deeper.”

A senior participant concludes (in her wonderful Portuguese accent): “This is what going to church is really all about: Loving each other!”

The Loving Goal of a Global Faith Community
Comes to Life with Share The Care™

Care Crew – NY

The Church’s Care Crew teams include:

  •  Members of a Pastoral Care Crew offer a listening ear for those who request ongoing counseling.
  •  An On Call Emergency & Shut-In Crew responds to urgent care needs and makes hospital visits.
  • A few individuals are offering in-home assistance and transportation to medical appointments for a friend who is challenged by her own illness.
  • One team makes sure that a member has a ride to and from church each Sunday, accompanies her to medical appointments, and divvies up daily phone calls to check in on her.
  • One team makes weekly phone calls to check in on a member who is having trouble with her eyes.
  • One team looks for ways to assist a woman whose father is living at home with Alzheimer’s.

Marcie’s Guardian Angels…An Inspiration

Arlington, Texas
by Linda Gibson

Marcie Gibson

Marcie Gibson

“A young couple became members at our church, and we learned that they were expecting Quads in the fall. Many of our church family told them they would be there to help – I wanted to help as well, but was home with Marcie on a daily basis. Marcie is my daughter and has ALS.

Then, I woke up with an idea.  I called my church to see if anyone had volunteered to organize caring for the babies but no one had.  So, I told the church secretary my plan about how we could use Share The Care™ for these newborns as my church family had helped me.  I could organize everything at home on my computer while I was caring for Marcie.

I went to the hospital to meet the mom of the soon-to-be Quads and her mom, who lives two hours away. I wrote the plan down – how we had run “Marcie’s Guardian Angels”.

As I left the hospital, I finally realized what “Marcie’s Guardian Angels” had been telling me all those years. I was so blessed to have the knowledge the Share The Care™ book had given me so that I could help this family expecting four new babies all at one time. I knew I could do it – I knew it would work – it had for my family.

I got the plan started – I made one sign up sheet listing the five different specialized teams: Lawn care, Housekeeping, Meals, Donations, and Childcare.  All five teams led by five leaders will be guided by the Share The Care™ system.

The next Sunday, we had a “signing day” after church – about 80 people had their pictures taken. We did this since both the young couple and I needed to put a name to a face before anyone came to their home. We have a very large church – everyone does not know everyone else. We also had people fill out background checks. Our church housed “guests” from the Hurricane Katrina disaster, so this was “old hat” for our members now.

Quads-the-Diaper-Darlings-tx

The Quads had about 50 adopted Mom’s, Grandma’s, Great Grandma’s and Grandpa’s who loved them dearly. I couldn’t put myself on the weekly schedule since I am caring for Marcie, however, I got my “baby fix” when visiting on weekends.
For four months the Diaper Darlings have been there from 7:00 a.m. till 9:00 p.m. with three families spending the nights two days a week. Now that the Quads are sleeping through the night, we just need to cover from 9:30 am till 6:00 pm. And soon we’ll be cutting back even more from 1:00 p.m. till 6:30 p.m.

Suzanne, means so much to me now. I have adopted her and her husband, Joe, and all four babies. I was so lucky to have the knowledge of how to organize this wonderful group of Christian men and women who make up the Diaper Darlings. Suzanne has enough confidence in our team now that she can take a nap or run to the store if she needs to, and we’re there for them on weekends, as needed. And that’s when I get to help! On Sunday mornings, I’m there so Joe and Suzanne can go to church.

The Share The Care program not only helps people who are ill, but can also provide support to families during times of great joy as well. I’m so blessed to have been able to offer this assistance to so many families. It feels so good to have been able to “give back” the gifts given to me, and my family, while caring for my daughter, Marcie.

Sometimes A Faith Community Must Travel
Wherever One or Two are Gathered

by Sheila Reed

Lynn Van Atta

For the past several years, I have spent most of my Sunday mornings at the Church of Lynn. Its sanctuary is half of a double room at the Founders Pavilion nursing facility in Corning. Its patron saint is Lynn Van Atta, my friend for over thirty years, although she would snort at any notion of saintliness.

Lynn suffers from a degenerative brain disorder that has gradually stolen her vision, her mobility, and her sense of time and space. She is tethered to the world by the ministrations of her caregivers and the daily visits of family and friends. Each of us has staked ourselves to a portion of Lynn’s week, when we arrive to share food and conversation, to read words of wisdom and comfort, to laugh over old stories.

My time is Sunday morning. I wend my way through the wheelchairs clustered by the third floor nurses’ station and arrive at room 306. Whether she is in bed or in the geriatric chair that holds her head and body steady, Lynn’s face beams at the sound of my greeting. Her eyes are often lidded or fully closed; Lynn sees without them. Her world is lit from within by little joys and epiphanies: the tart taste of apple on her tongue, a snatch of song from the past, the memory of a day on the beach with her beloved granddaughters.

This is my worship. To be in the presence of a soul growing ever closer to the light, whose illness has robbed her body of almost everything it can, save life itself, and acceptance, and grace in the face of terrible loss. A determination to live out her days with gratefulness for the things that remain.

It is in this presence that I approach my own best self. I am patient with Lynn’s frequent confusions, tender with my words. I battle with her the fearful images that her ravaged brain generates. We make our way through the verses of “Amazing Grace.” I sing her the song she loves by Libby Roderick:

How could anyone ever tell you/ You were anything less than beautiful? How could anyone ever tell you/ You were less than whole?
How could anyone fail to notice that your loving is a miracle?

These are our Sunday hymns. I place slices of clementine and bits of banana bread between Lynn’s lips and slip some into my own mouth. This is our communion.

Jesus said, ‘Wherever one or two are gathered in my name, there I am with them.”

Throughout my life I have experienced the presence of God in a variety of places, both humble and grand. Right now my church is half of a double room on the third floor of Founders Pavilion in Corning, New York.

Share The Care™ for Ministries
A Small Excerpt From The Durango Herald
“Sharing The Care”

by Dale Rodebaugh

“A Durango-based ecumenical Bible-study group for women developed a secular ministry to help the ill or injured through trying times.

Member’s of Great ol’ Broads of God’s, who started meeting about eight years prior, learned by chance last year of Share The Care, a system that spreads the commonplace tasks of caregiving among many volunteers.  The Great ol’ Broads adopted the system, a national model, and saw it work with one of their own.

Great ‘ol Broad Pat Robertson of Durango learned about Share The Care last year when she helped a terminally ill friend in Dixon, N.M.  The friend received her diagnosis of cancer in April and died in June. But during the interval, Robertson saw what seemed like the entire community join the care brigade.  ‘It was very effective’, Robertson says

WHAT FAITH COMMUNITIES ARE SAYING ABOUT SHARE THE CARE™

“March 29 marks the anniversary of my mother’s death.  It seems fitting that I should recognize the enormous contribution Share The Care made in her comfort and will being right up to her final hour…

In a state of emotional and physical fatigue, I dropped in to Hospice Peterborough to ask for guidance.  Sherry gave me Share The Care.  Within two days, my sister and I met with our chosen leader from outside the family.  Within a week, he led a meeting at my mother’s church with 35 people who, with a few others, formed our Circle of Care.

With the system in place.  I devoted my time to Mum.  I had only to communicate with the leader and everything was taken care of.  The whole family felt the support and love of Mum’s Circle of Care.”

~ Sylvia Cashmore

“I had volunteered in a Share The Care™ group at another church a few years ago. It’s such an honor to serve the Lord with these folks, since several of the volunteer caregivers have or are suffering from diseases or other issues themselves. It’s a great inspiration.”

~ Paula J. Shore, Edgewood Baptist Church Edmonds, WA

“I had the pleasure and opportunity to organize 3 Share The Care groups within my parish community…we called the ministry “Circle of Hands”…each one was different and required different levels of support…it was amazing. Now 6 years later in a new state I may begin another group.

What a gift this is. Thank you. I just read Cappy’s story…amazing..I’m without words, my mind and heart are reeling. This is a true testimony to the power of love, community…the power of God…I will keep Share The Care in my prayers, it is a true blessing.”

~ Dianna Haussmann

“I was a Funny Family (what original STC groups were called) member for a dear neighbor, Bobbie Dean, 11 years ago as she entered final stage of breast cancer. Our Priest gathered her Funny Family (all neighbors) to teach us to help her through her death. I see the experience as one of the highlights of my life.

I hope to help others when I have more time in my life and to teach others how to Share The Care for people they care about.”

~ Chrissy Akers

 

“As you may have heard by now, Mary Pat has ovarian cancer. During her treatment many people want to help, but don’t know how.

Last night, a group of friends from St. Giles family Mass Community got together with Mary Pat to pray and begin to organize Mary Pat’s Community of Care. We are using the book Share The Care which gives a format for structuring a care group so that no one gets overwhelmed or burned out, and Mary Pat is relieved of the burden of asking for help. With prayers and laughter, we made a list of all of Mary Pat’s friends and family. We will be calling or emailing to invite you to the meeting.”

Mary Pat’s Community of Care Blog

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