Rev Peter Lockhart
One of the strangest aspects of congregational life that I have come across is how people who leave congregations to move into nursing homes, or have simply become to frail to attend, get quickly forgotten by the community. More often than not they get left as the business of the elders or minister, whose job it seems it is to visit the "shut-ins".
At one of the congregations I was part of the elders determined this was not to be the case. One particular elder, the 'communion' elder, orgainsed monthly home communions. When I first met her she was already 82 and month by month she would organise a day which involved doing visits with as many as 7 people located all over the city of Brisbane.
She herself had been a member of the congregation for her whole life but despite this some of the people we visited didn't really know her. I was always inspired by her dedication to the task, simply remembering those who had gone out of the sight of the rest of the congregation.
In her work, and the support she gave me to meet and know these people, I think of God's promise "I will not leave you or forsake you." As the church are we not called to those who find themsleves lost and lonely in the final years of their lives?
Her dedication continued for the 5 years I was with the congregation and despite reaching the age of 87 she continued to arrange the home communions so that these people would know that they were loved and that God still cared.
For me she remains an inspiration for dedication and love.