Buoying spirits and helping residents to feel comforted and connected are tasks that chaplains at our District’s Lutheran aged care and retirement living facilities undertake every day, but their role recently became even more crucial given the lockdown measures in place due to the global pandemic.
Ian Lutze, Tanunda Lutheran Home Chaplain, said most residents had taken the isolation from their family and loved ones in their stride, but that extra support was offered to those who needed it.
“All staff have been more attentive to our residents’ emotional needs at this time and our organisation has given more hours to our assistant chaplain, Helen, to do more regular social visits and identify residents at emotional risk,” he said.
While combined worship with independent living and care facility residents at the home has not been possible, alternative small-group worship or an individual devotional program has been arranged.
“Hope and comfort is provided through our regular worship, lots of conversations and more frequent visits,” said Ian.
“We also consistently carry a message that the Coronavirus is not happening because God wants to punish people or make people ‘wake up’ and instead we invite people to look sideways – to find God and Jesus in the loving care of staff, in the great decisions that have to be made, in the costly sacrifices of some people at this time, in the threads of wisdom that help people ponder this incredible time, and even in the jokes, because we all need a bit of a laugh to let off steam!”
Tim Kowald, Fullarton Lutheran Home Chaplain, said in many respects it had been ‘business as usual’ for chaplaincy at the home, and that he felt blessed to still have opportunities to minister to the residents and staff in person on a daily basis. Worship was still taking place, albeit in a slightly different format.
“I lead a Sunday service in our chapel, using an adjusted liturgy and recorded hymns, telecast both via the home’s CCTV system to residents’ rooms and online for our independent living unit residents,” said Tim.
“I still feel awkward being the only one in the chapel, but the reactions from numerous residents and some staff are of appreciation for this way of worship.
“Our good Lord is faithful and has promised to remain our strength and shield, and our community has indeed experienced His faithfulness in these days.”
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