The “Rest” of the Care Connections Story [Main Story]
While Pastor Cherie Smith has moved on to the Collegedale church in Tennessee, she shared with us how she and friend Ann Fetrick started Care Connections in the College View church in Lincoln, Nebraska (their story is below). One note: neither Smith nor Fetrick are involved in the College View ministry; there is still a homebound ministry, but the leadership has changed.—Editors.
here wasn’t enough of me to take care of all the people in the church needing visits, care and support,” explains Smith. “Also, it takes the connections of the church family to keep a pastor apprised of the members’ needs. I’ve learned that members will call the pastor if they believe someone will address the need.
“Ann Fetrick, a friend, and I brainstormed about what it should look like—some of the philosophy of which I’ve shared.
“We created a list of all the people we knew who were in care facilities or homebound. We listed their address and phone number (if applicable) and made a comment line letting people know pertinent info (such as if they were at a rehab center doing physical therapy to regain their strength).
“Then I contacted the person or their family and requested permission to give their names to others so they would receive cards, visits, attention.
“The program was initiated with a blessing—we were blessed to have a man who was able to help us create a DVD. I showed it in church one day and then had a handout with the name of the new ministry. We invited those who were interested in participating in the ministry to check which form of ministry they would be interested in. This recognized that people have different gifts—some of the things listed were: pray for the names, send cards, phone, personal visits, fix food, help with one-time projects. . . .
“Every month Ann and I refreshed the list. We listed the names of people who had birthdays coming up in the new month, updated names of people who had gone into the hospital or were into treatments. We had a section that listed the deaths and the names and addresses of loved ones so that members could send out cards.
“We had an organizational meeting that outlined our thoughts (educated some about visiting, shared a book, etc.).
“We also had a monthly meeting that all were invited to. Mainly about a dozen people who did visitation attended. At that meeting we took info from those who had visited our homebound and shared anything that would be helpful to them.
We made prayer a big part of this ministry and encouraged our members to pray for the names on the list.”
Fetrick adds: “Favorite inspirational thoughts as we were getting started, were from The Desire of Ages
[by Ellen G. White], chapter 9, paragraphs 6 and 7, and chapter 7, paragraph 7.”
“As White wrote, ‘Jesus worked to relieve every case of suffering that He saw,’[p.87]” says Smith. “‘Christ was not exclusive. . . . In His contact with men He did not ask, ‘What is your creed? To what church do you belong?’ He exercised His helping power on behalf of all who needed help. . . . At all times and in all places He manifested a loving interest in men, and shed about Him the light of a cheerful piety’ [p. 86]. . . . It is urgently important that we let them know that they are not forgotten and that their church family still values them.”