Imagine being stuck in your home day after day, unable to leave for even the simplest errand. Many of our elderly share this fate, but even worse, they no longer have any contact with their church family. No one calls; no one visits. They feel all their years of faithfulness in attendance and commitment have gone unnoticed.
Don't leave them feeling abandoned. There are many ways to reach out to the homebound. The simplest way is to ask your church office for a list of members who have not been attending and call or visit them. Another idea is to evaluate the financial needs of the homebound and develop an adopt-a-senior program.
Since the elderly often depend on their Social Security checks to cover their living expenses, they must prioritize their spending. For example, they may cancel Meals on Wheels to pay for prescriptions or go without air conditioning or heat. Church members can sign up individually or as groups to pay for utilities or meals every month. Alternatively, a benevolence fund could be set up to help with these or other specific needs.
In addition to financial aid, help with household chores is always needed. Grass grows, roofs leak, weak eyes need better lighting, wheelchair ramps and bath rails must be installed, sheds need fresh paint — the list is endless. Spring and fall are the perfect time for the church's teens to work on these projects.
Don't forget pets. Pets often become best friends to the homebound, so caring for a dog or cat is caring for its master.
The elderly who are homebound live in our neighborhoods, having worked in our communities, educated their children in our schools and worshiped with us in our churches. A phone call, a visit, a home-cooked meal or pet care would bring joy and light into the lives of those who are desperately in need of human contact.
Ever feel like you need to wear a mask to cover up who you are? Are you concerned that, if people knew who you really are and how you really felt, they wouldn't understand?
One minister, two jobs and the family that's at the top of the list. The number of bivocational ministers, those in full- or part-time ministry who carry an additional job, is estimated by some researchers to be as high as 30 percent of ministers nationwide.
"You should see the church they attend," Lucille said, armed with bulletin and newsletter. Creases formed across my brow as celebration gave way to comparisons a trap that had sprung too many times.