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Churches Help Seniors Find Purpose As They Age

May 17, 2011

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Mary Laney was feeling the effects of a nasty fall that necessitiated several stitches above her eye when we visited following the weekly worship service put on by Fist Baptist Woodway at the nursing home. And her misfortune did not go unnoticed by Pastor Jim Gray, director of First Baptist Woodway's senior ministry.

Pastor Gray's mission is to bring church to people who can't attend, and to meet the spiritual needs of the elderly in the area. That's why he leads this service at Royal Manor each Wednesday morning. One of his weekly attendees is Mary Laney. Mary and her husband have spent several years in the nursing home, and Mary has attended Pastor Gray's service since the early days. For Gray and those seeking to meet the needs of aging Central Texans, it's people like Laney who spur them on.

The service last week was sung accapella, as Mary's head injury kept her from playing. But as we talked about that sense of purpose that came with being involved in the service, she walked over to the piano, inspired.

It turned out, Mary didn't feel like doing a lot of talking, but playing "Take The Name Of Jesus With You" on the piano helped her start feeling like herself again. Pastor Gray said many churches provide services to people like Mary, and he singles out Friends For Life as an agency that meets social, relational, and even spiritual needs for the elderly. And he hopes that these agencies find people like Mary, giving them opportunities to find purpose and dignity in the work they do, even as some of their other abilities have failed. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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