Alton Webteam: June 2015
On Wednesday mornings I help with the short Communion services which Anna Chaplain Helen Jesty holds for residents in The Lawn retirement home in Holybourne.
There are usually about 10 residents in the congregation and sometimes a few relatives come with them. Some are able to walk from their rooms to the lovely little chapel on the ground floor, while the Carers bring the not-so-mobile ones in wheelchairs. We sit in a rough circle so we can all see Helen and one another.
Helen usually starts by asking someone to choose a hymn and we sing it along to a CD accompaniment. On one particular occasion recently, however, Helen herself chose the hymn Eternal Father Strong to Save as it fitted in with the theme she had chosen for the service, which was God as our Guide. She had brought Bob Weighton's lighthouse from St Lawrence Church to show everyone and spoke about Bob's considerable talents and they were amazed to hear that Bob, at 107, is quite a bit older than they are!
Helen then spoke about the link this lighthouse has with the children's GAP Lighthouse initiative and read out the words of the special song which Arthur Harvey from St Lawrence (himself nearly 90) has composed for the children, and this brought a smile to everyone's face.
We then talked about the talents which God has given to members of The Lawn's congregation — for example, one lady was wearing a beautiful cardigan which she had knitted entirely from oddments of wool so it cost her nothing to make! Helen had also brought along a lovely picture painted by a former resident of the Lawn who had sadly died recently and who we remembered in our prayers that day.
We normally finish our services with another hymn and then we all go to the Lounge where Helen and I serve tea, coffee and biscuits and then we all have a chat. Sometimes the conversation revolves around the theme of the service, but on this particular occasion it moved on to the subject of VE Day and people started telling us about their own memories of that day.
I really look forward to my visits to The Lawn and the residents really seem to appreciate having different people to talk to apart from one another and the care staff.
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