Seniors lead their own church in nursing home

Choir Members Lewis Benedict (Age 100) and Marie Pearson

Choir Members, Lewis Benedict (Age 100)
and Marie Pearson

The seniors of Dykeland Lodge, a residential care facility in Windsor, NS, have refused to let their separation from their home churches keep them from being “the church” where they now live. They live out their faith in spite of their disadvantage of being separated from the family, friends and home churches.

A l00-year-old resident rolls along the corridors of the nursing home cheerfully singing gospel hymns; his conscious witness to his faith. With others, he actively evangelizes his fellow community members.

They are the “church”, an uncommon interdenominational fellowship, very much alive. Debra Mosher, part-time chaplain at the Lodge funded by the local Baptist Association, assists them in their spiritual journey.

Growing need for spiritual care for seniors

“By 2011, one in seven Canadians will be a senior,” states Debra. She urges Christians to take a more active part in the growing need for spiritual care for seniors that our governments do not recognize.

They meet regularly for a lively Bible study on Thursday nights with the assistance of Mosher. Their enthusiasm has attracted people from outside, mostly seniors and family members. The Bible Study has grown from 10 to 12 a year ago, to up to 30 people.

Margaret McLellan

Margaret McLellan

“Most of them know their Bibles much better than me,” says Debra. “I am taught and mentored very well by them. I say I am helping them practice for when they get to glory.”

Marie Pearson says, “Chaplain Debra has helped me to learn more about Jesus – I feel better about myself.  It has helped me with past issues that have troubled me for many years.”

When asked what having a chaplain at Dykeland Lodge meant to Margaret McLellan, she replied, “Our church services are very uplifting.  When my husband passed away, I appreciated having a minister to talk to and help me through such a difficult time.”

Nursing staff show interest

Mosher notes that, frequently, even staff take their breaks during the time of the Bible Study and “listen in quietly”. She notes that the staff witness dying daily and they are well aware of the need for God in these circumstances.

“Staff need the Christian message too.”

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