(Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon) - Like so many of you, at least once each week I receive correspondence from an organization seeking support for a ministry. And while these entities are involved in worthwhile initiatives, often they are not part of our United Methodist connection. I say this to simply remind us that we are part of a great Church that is making a significant impact in so many areas around the world. And I write to you this week to highlight my own experience with one of the institutions that is most deserving of our support.
During my years as a local church pastor, the congregations I have served have been faithful supporters of the "Fountain of Love" Offering that benefits the Methodist Homes for the Aged. While I have visited church members who were residents of our homes in various parts of the annual conference, this ministry has become very personal as my own grandmother, my Nana, is now a resident at the Mathison Retirement Center in Panama City. Nana's health is declining, she is experiencing dementia and battling congestive heart failure. It has progressed more rapidly than we could have anticipated. But our family could not be more appreciative and grateful for the caring staff at Mathison that has seen to her needs and has been a help to our family in this transition for her and for all of us who love her.
I write this to you this week because you may have a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, a brother, sister, friend, or church member that is at a place in their life's journey where they need additional care to ensure their safety and well-being. Our Methodist Homes for the Aged are excellent places to minister to God's older children who are in the later years of life. At the same time, our Methodist Homes need your support, as well as the support of your congregation. This week, I will be sending to your churches the information you need for your congregation to take part in the "Fountain of Love" Offering and I do hope you will receive this offering to help our homes continue to fulfill their mission throughout the state of Alabama and Northwest Florida. Additionally, I will be sending you the "Minister's Tool Kit" with information that will be of benefit to you as pastor as you work with church members and families who are making decisions about the care needs they have going forward.
I would encourage you to reach out to Chris Tomlin, CEO of Methodist Homes, and his fine staff. I know they stand ready to serve you and assist with any needs you may have as it relates to care for the aged. I am thankful for this ministry of our church and am personally seeing the critical need it meets as our family journeys with my grandmother during this part of her life. Please consider ways you can engage your congregation in support of their great work taking place in both the North Alabama and Alabama-West Florida Conferences.