by Dr. Roger M. Adams
At the end of last May my wife, Donna, and I had been married almost 57 years. During all of that time we had done everything together when it was at all possible. All of that changed when Donna became a resident of The Arbor, the memory care unit at SummerWood of Plymouth.
On reflection, the only things we still regularly do together are to attend worship and take communion. These present day experiences are, however, quite different from our 44 years of membership at St. Philip the Deacon. The “church” is the commons room for residents of the Arbor. The “worship service” is held every Tuesday morning. The “pastor” is a young, enthusiastic Lutheran pastor and he is assisted by a volunteer pastor. The “organist” is a volunteer pianist from the nearby Presbyterian Church. The “congregation” is comprised of about 20 Arbor residents, a few spouses or other relatives, and the Activities Director. We sit in a large circle. The “order of service” is familiar with hymns sung from song sheets, scripture readings, prayers, a sermon, and the Lord’s Prayer. On the first Tuesday of the month a special “communion service” is held with wine and bread. The bread is a round loaf specially baked by the Administrator of SummerWood. The residents remain seated and the pastors administer the bread and wine by intinction. It is a very special service.
The worship services end with a hymn. The pastor asks the residents what they would like to sing. It has become almost traditional that Virginia, one of the residents, suggests “Jesus Loves Me” before anyone else is able to respond. It is a most appropriate conclusion to the service.