Every other week members of the congregation of The Church of the Good Shepherd in Athens goes to the Lindley Inn Assisted Living Center for a service and hymn sing. We have an average of 10-20 people each time and they really seem to enjoy the service and hymns.
Most of these residents are Methodists and Presbyterians so we do an ‘Episcopal Light’ service with opening collect, a psalm, the Gospel reading and Eucharist. Lots of hymns are interspersed before we close with a hymn sing. It has given me a chance to sing all those oldy-moldy hymns that are not considered ‘vogue’ today. The first time I did the service, when we started singing, everyone stopped, cocked their heads and listened to me sing. Singing unprepared solos was not exactly what I had in mind — guess I will have to go back to voice lessons. Now they are accustomed to my singing and we all sing together.
It is at the discretion of the person officiating as to whether they will deliver a homily or not; since I am supposed to be learning to preach, I have begun preparing a ‘sermon-ette’ based on one or all of the readings that makes a single point that they might then think about the rest of the week (I would hope).
I really think I get more out of the service than they do. And I have acquired a couple of ‘gentlemen’ friends who wouldn’t miss the service for anything!
The average age of the communicants is probably at least 80, but they seem to enjoy the fellowship and certainly enjoy the hymn sing.
This ministry has become an integral part of my diaconal training and will be something that I carry with me for the rest of my life. In my dreams, I have envisioned being a chaplain at the assisted living center and this biweekly event has only reinforced how much I like to bring the love of God to older people. Hmmmm – is there a calling there?
If you check my blog on a regular basis, you will find those full-length sermons I do monthly as well as these little ‘sermon-ettes’ that I do at Lindley.