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From time to time we will share a story with you that captures the  spirit of the Ministry to the Aged Pastoral Care Team.

Some time ago I was serving as chaplain in an area dedicated to the care of persons with Alzheimer’s disease when I met Allen. He was an older man, I would say 80 – 85 years old. He was an attractive man, tall with excellent posture. Whenever I saw him, he was wearing a suit and tie. He was a warm, caring man. His elegance commanded the attention of those who met him.

I was struck by the way Allen welcomed me into the group’s area. With a warm handshake, he would look me in the eye and say something like, “It’s nice to see you, John, I’m glad you are here. How are you doing? I hope all is well with you.”

He always had a gracious welcome for me; a welcome that let me know he really was glad to see me. I wondered at times if his warm welcome signified more than his simply being a caring person.

Then, in conversation with a member of the staff, I learned that Allen had been a pastor. As soon as I heard that, I wondered if with all those gracious greetings he had been welcoming me to his church. I bet he was.

I began responding to his greetings as though I were being welcomed to church. “Thank you Allen. It is nice to be here. I always get a lot from the group as we worship, singing those great old hymns and praying together.”

My experiences with Allen led me to believe that while there are significant differences between those of us who have Alzheimer’s disease and those of us who don’t, at our core, we are very much alike. We all yearn to be affirmed as persons of value. We all have value because the God who made us says we are valuable. We affirm the value of people by accepting them as they are and by seeking to understand their perception of reality. In doing so, we share with them our love and the love of God.

John Payne, Chaplain


Before I walk into a care center I often pray: “Father, make me a channel of your encouragement and comfort.” I believe He’s answering that prayer. As I try to keep my mind on the words of a song I am leading, and play the right guitar chords, another part of me is aware of people’s responses.

Music often affects residents. Those who are usually passive are often stirred by the music and tears well up in their eyes. When I share a Scripture verse or story another person smiles and nods. When I spend time visiting personally with residents I may see visible relief in the face of someone who needs to be reminded that God loves him or her.

I am grateful to Ministry to the Aged for the support that enables me to devote time to ministry in care centers. It may seem like such a simple thing… singing, sharing Scripture, spending time listening and praying with people. But God uses these things to encourage and comfort people – including me.

Chaplain Tom Warner



Ministry To The Aged ~ P.O. Box 45237 ~ Boise, ID 83711 ~ 208-323-8023

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