The First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills, New York
The Loving Goal of a Global Faith Community
Comes to Life with Share The Care™
The First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills is applying Share The Care™ 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, are actively involved.
One of three coordinators explains: “It’s a lovely thing that is 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.”
The church’s care 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.
“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!”
This group is happy to assist other congregations and faith-based communities to Share The Care™.
Most Precious Blood Catholic Church (MPB)
Christine Maschka, Coordinator
(The following is from the Church website)
Help The Sick
The Share The Care™ program is based upon a model of communal caring. It organizes the care of someone who is temporarily, chronically, progressively or terminally ill or has physical limitations.
Share The Care™ provides trusted, sustained and continuous support to an individual or family. It aims to bring relief to situations where the primary caregiver is overwhelmed with the care requirements of their loved one.
The Share The Care™ Coordinator along with other trained facilitators will organize a community of care to provide help tapping into the care receiver’s own network of family, friends, neighbors as well as parish volunteers. A private website for each team is used to keep a calendar of needs and tracks who is meeting those needs. The website also provides a means of communication with the team through email and a message board. The Share The Care™ communal model of care giving offers a simple and effective solution to creating a network of care where no one person is bearing the burden alone.
If you would like to be part of a support network and make a difference in someone’s life, please contact this ministry.
Sometimes A Faith Community Must Travel
Wherever One or Two are Gathered
by Sheila Reed
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 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.
Marcie’s Guardian Angels…An Inspiration
by Linda Gibson
“A young family placed membership 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 Linda’s 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 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 room 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.
So the plan is in place – I made one sign up sheet listing the five different specialized teams: Lawn care, Housekeeping, Meals, Donations, and Childcare. All five teams lead by five leaders will be guided by the Share The Care™ system.
Last 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.
We’ll be going by the name… “The Diaper Darlings.”
You can read the full story on the Stories section of this website.
Update on Steece Quads and their Diaper Darlings
by Linda Gibson
The Quads have about 50 adopted Mom’s, Grandma’s, Great Grandma’s and Grandpa’s who love them dearly. I can’t put myself on the weekly schedule since I am caring for Marcie, however, I get 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.
So, 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 be able to offer this assistance to so many families. It feels so good to be able to “give back” the gifts given to me, and my family, while caring for my daughter, Marcie.