STORIES

A Gathering on Hunger and Food Security

NBA   |   September 19, 2013

Reflections from Attendees

What is your role at your senior housing facility and community?

My name is Brent Reynolds and I am the director and chaplain of the Florida Christian Center, a ministry of service to the residents of Florida Christian Apartments and Sundale Manor, independent HUD-supporting residential facilities for senior adults. 

How long have you been in this role?

I have been in the role for 1 year.

The theme of service and servanthood was part of the discussions during the gathering. What does service mean to you and how do you see yourself and the work you do as being of service to others?

Service for me is tied to the Golden Rule.  If I were a senior adult, living in the community in which I serve, how would I want to be treated?  What services, activities, and support would I want to see provided?  What opportunities would I want to be provided so that I could be involved in improving the lives of my neighbors?

What were some of your expectations and hopes as you prepared to come to this event?

I hoped that I would gain two things from the event: knowledge and relationship. 

What is the benefit of coming together with other senior housing leaders and managers?

I found great benefit in learning about the challenges that other managers/board presidents/services providers face on a daily face and their creative solutions to meet those challenges.

How important is it for your residential facility and community to have relationship with local Disciples churches? What are the beneficial connections that churches and your HUD community have with one another?

Our relationship with local Disciples churches is critical to our ministry for several reasons.  First, the Florida Christian Center exists because of the generosity of Disciples over the last 100 years.  We are who we are because of the Church, specifically the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Second, the Florida Christian Center continues to receive support through local DOC volunteers who help run the Wishing Well (gift shop), sponsor a monthly birthday party for all residents, etc.  Finally, the Florida Christian Center serves the Northeast Florida district of the Florida Disciples as a place of gathering for clergy and as a resource for programs and activities related to “faith and aging.”
 


 

What is your role at your senior housing facility and community?

My name is Karen Wardlaw and I am the Administrator/CEO of Disciples Homes Management Group, which manages five affordable housing, senior adult facilities in Longview, Henderson, and Tyler all in Northeast Texas.

How long have you been in this role?

I have been in this role since 2005 and have been working in senior housing since 1989. (twenty of those years in Disciples-related facilities).

The theme of service and servanthood was part of the discussions during the gathering. What does service mean to you and how do you see yourself and the work you do as being of service to others?

I believe service is helping others achieve a better live.  Our senior housing facilities provide safe, secure and quality living for those in need.  I believe it is our way of sharing God’s love and fulfilling his commandments.

What were some of your expectations and hopes as you prepared to come to this event?

My greatest hope was to renew relationships that had been lost due to events of the past.  To restore the sense of family that I always had as being part of NBA and of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

What is the benefit of coming together with other senior housing leaders and managers?

I believe there are two benefits that stand out in my mind.  The first is the ability of sharing knowledge of what we do and how we do it.  Mentoring if you will.  Second is the sense of belonging and knowing we are not out there alone in the trials of daily management.

How important is it for your residential facility and community to have relationship with local Disciples churches? What are the beneficial connections that churches and your HUD community have with one another?

I believe that a relationship with the Disciples churches is important because it is our heritage.  We require 51% of our board members to be from area Disciple Churches and encourage the churches to be involved with us through them.  Also the Area Minister attends our meeting as a non-voting member.  We have donor churches and also volunteer groups that come from the churches.  I am fortunate to have several board members from different Northeast Area Texas churches serving as board leaders.  We also have a permanent seat on the Northeast Area Administrative council and a column in the monthly Area News letter which allows us to keep the areas churches informed and aware of who we are and what we do. 
 




What is your role at your senior housing facility and community?

My name is Rick Lewis and I am the Administrator and Community Manager at Disciples Terrace in Tacoma, Washington.

How long have you been in this role?

I have served in this role for 18 years.

The theme of service and servanthood was part of the discussions during the gathering. What does service mean to you and how do you see yourself and the work you do as being of service to others?

Service to me means reaching “out”, doing for others that which Jesus calls us to do…and showed us.  It requires sacrifice and putting the needs of the least of these first. It is following the example of Christ with humility and thanksgiving.

I see our work as service to our community because we try to be the heart and hands of Jesus to those we serve. We don’t want to be just another place that provides housing, but a place that provides housing that is safe, affordable, friendly, welcoming and open. We strive to be the place that people want to live because we care about our residents.

What were some of your expectations and hopes as you prepared to come to this event?

I knew we would be sharing ideas centering around food ministry.  I expected to see some folks I hadn’t seen in quite some time and I expected to meet new friends. I expected to receive more than I had to offer.

What is the benefit of coming together with other senior housing leaders and managers?

The obvious answer is networking. The value of networking is the greater number of people you can interact with over a relatively short period of time.  More people, more ideas. Interaction takes place in large groups, smaller groups and one-on-one settings.  It’s important to “get to know” people on a more personal level.  It makes it easier to trust and have confidence in others when you meet them face to face. I find that I often will remember or refer back to something or someone that was part of a prior gathering, and that is a resource I find useful.

How important is it for your residential facility and community to have relationship with local Disciples churches? What are the beneficial connections that churches and your HUD community have with one another?

I believe it is very important.  In many ways, I wish it were stronger. Some of the benefits we have experienced over the years have included work days at our housing facility by church groups; a tremendous Disciples community from which to invite new board members; the connections to people that we can call on in times of need or who may have special skills; access to resources for residents who may be looking for a church or a pastor to perform a wedding or memorial service or counseling; a generosity of gifts to our community especially through estate planning; the access to local clergy groups. Plus, we have been honored to offer a place for church groups to meet for various activities and events through the years.

tiffanycurtis

Tiffany Curtis

Peer Group Convener
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