If you are reading this, you might need this.
Almost 30 volunteers of the Martin Luther Church are calling people on a regular basis to stay in touch and offer their assistance. This outreach program started in April with the isolation measures implemented by our government to slow down the spread of COVID-19. If you are alone and you need a care call, please contact our church office to get your name on the list for regular calls.
If you are in need of food, please contact the Red Cross at 1-833-204-9952 – they will deliver food baskets to seniors and others in need who are unable to leave their homes to access food.
I would like to share true stories about seniors who have been contacted by volunteers as part of our Corona Care Calls.
This brings to mind Verse 9 of Psalm 31: Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress.
Enjoy the stories.
Best wishes from the Martin Luther Church,
Iris Schweiger, President,
Where Past and Present Meet
On the 29th of May we received an e-mail in response to our corona care call announcement.
“I’m not sure who will be reading this email first, but I am Chris Eastmure. I was born a Weigelin and grew up in your church. I get your emails regularly and wish I was closer so I could still attend.”
The e-mail goes on requesting Corona Care help for Frau Ursula Pahnke. With pleasure we were able to send a message back that Frau Pahnke is very much in the folds of Martin Luther Church, receiving radio devotions and sermons in an e-mail or paper copies and just recently the first social distance visits at the main door of her senior residence.
A lively exchange began until the following e-mail arrived. It moved me so much to know how very deeply our past and present are connected that I asked all parties for permission to publish. Enjoy reminiscing.
“Good Morning Iris,
I live in Sundridge (between Huntsville and North Bay). We moved here from Elora in 2014 so that we could live by a lake. I worship at Knox Presbyterian here in town. We shopped around for a church when we first got here, and this church was the most welcoming. It is very old school. We sing ancient hymns, and do things the way they have been done forever. But, everyone walks the talk. There is a real sense that God is present.
I keep in touch with MLC because it is in my DNA. You might remember my parents, Olaf and Else Weigelin. MLC was just a part of my life. Church services throughout the year, youth group, Sunday school teacher, Confirmation classes every Friday for 2 years, summers at Camp Lutherlyn, the picnics in June, “Posaunenchor”, Christmas nativity plays, helping my dad and Eugen Pahnke paint the day care centre when it was built, working at the day care when I was an ECE student, being married in the church, the stained glass windows my dad designed, ….. you get the idea. MLC played a huge part in my life. Staying in touch with MLC feeds my need to connect with my past and keeps me grounded. Keeping in touch with Ursel seems very natural. Now that my mother is gone, I feel it is up to my generation to stay in contact with family friends. It is just a little something I can do to honour my mother.
I look forward to many more emails. It is a joy to see what your church is doing. I particularly like the idea of dinner church. When this COVID is finally over, I would love to start something like this in my church. Hopefully, I can be in Toronto some day to come and worship with you.
Until then, Sisters in Christ,
If you have any stories to share about Olaf and Else W., please send them to the church office.
Ollie and Me
Back story – Ollie started the Easter sunrise services at Martin Luther Church in the year 2000. She had asked Peggy (who was on council at that time around the year 1998) to start a sunrise service. The council and pastor at that time were opposed, so Peggy promised Ollie that they would start it in the year 2000, even if it was only the two of them. The first year attendance was 12-20 people. Ollie also started the worship services with Holy Communion at Delmanor Retirement Home once a month led by Martin Luther Church in 2015.
It has been my tradition to pay a visit to Ollie a day or so after we return from our annual “Winter Escape.” This year my desire to do so was heightened as I had been notified that Ollie had fallen twice in early March, and that the second fall had resulted in a broken hip. Consequently her 98th birthday was observed at Runnymede Health Centre, where she’d been transferred for rehabilitation. But the pandemic changed all of those intentions: my husband and I were required to self-quarantine for 14 days, and all hospitals and senior residences had begun banning visitors before we’d even crossed the border.
RHC was very proactive in its use of technology, allowing pre-arranged virtual visits with their patients. So I began a regular routine of “FaceTiming” with Ollie for several weeks. When Easter Sunday arrived, I greeted Ollie wearing rabbit ears which made her giggle (yes, 98-year-olds do giggle!). We then talked about the fact that everywhere around the world, Easter services were being held in isolation. And I ended the “visit” by singing the first and last stanzas of the hymn “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”, with Ollie joining in on some of the “Alleluias!”
Then, as incredible as it seems, Ollie was able to return to Delmanor on April 17. She and all residents must remain in their suites, but the lilt in her voice was palpable when she found herself back in a familiar setting. My plan was to send a “welcome home” bouquet of flowers, but I was informed that Delmanor was not accepting floral deliveries. Not to be deterred, Robert and I prepared a surprise visit with a large sign, and a bouquet of balloons. PCWs at Delmanor arranged for Ollie to sit at her window on the 8th floor to allow for kisses and waves to be exchanged for several minutes.
As of today’s phone call, Ollie informs me that her balloon butterfly (a favourite symbol of resurrection) is still flying…
It all began with a bag of Epsom Salt.
“No problem,” said the young voice, “I will go shopping tomorrow and drop it off around four at your senior residence.”