As an introduction to this ministry, I would like to give you a brief outline of what my ministry area involves. In following posts, I will build on different points from this article, such as: constructing the lesson plan for memory care residents and working with aging people in their ministries.
Aging Ministry is thinking outside the box. It is an emerging ministry. People who serve in this area are ecumenical in their service and work outside of any organized church. All work as a team for the common good of the baptized.
I have been serving in aging ministries for about five years. My area of ministry covers two facilities. One has three stages of care, and the other is a memory care facility. I work with the activity directors to provide pastoral care and worship, scheduling visitations on Tuesday at the Independent Living portion of the three stage care facility. I enjoy meeting and talking with the residents at lunch, getting there a little earlier so I can visit with them while they wait for lunch to start. After they are seated, I have a wonderful opportunity to visit each table and find out how they are doing. The residents like to introduce me to visitors as their chaplain. After that, I go over to visit with the shut-ins.
On Thursday afternoons, I teach a Bible Study at the memory care facility. We are presently going through the book of Psalms. Each of my ministries is a team effort and at this facility I work with the Activities Aide. She sets up the room for the study and brings in the residents. I play the piano to keep them entertained. Music appears to hold their attention. I structure the Bible study in a Chapel format, using Margot Käßmann’s book Mit Herzen, Mund und Händen, Spiritualität im Alltag leben (English edition: With Hearts, Hands, and Voices: Spirituality for Everyday Living. I utilize the German version.)
This format includes prayer, Scripture, worship, and music into the Bible study. We use the daily prayer for the given Sunday readings from the Common Lectionaryleaders desk edition for Evangelical Lutheran Worship, including a form of confession and forgiveness to uplift the residents spiritually. I then read one of the Psalms for Sunday from the Lectionary scriptural readings for that coming Sunday (keeping it to five verses or less). We focus pray on points from the Bible study, and end with praising God in song with about four hymns that reflect the theology of the verses from the Psalms that have just been taught, and a blessing for the day.
On two Sundays a month, I am the worship leader for chapel. The last Sunday of the month I officiate at the Independent Resident Chapel. The first Sunday I officiate and preside over communion at the care facility chapel. These also are team efforts. My accompanists are both in their nineties!
At the care facility, I work with the activities aid. My structure for these chapels comes from Evangelical Lutheran Worship Pastoral Care, Occasional Services, Readings, and Prayers. Each chapel is thirty minutes long so I adjust content to fit the time frame.