By Sharon Mager
IJAMSVILLE, Md—NorthStar Community Church is making an impact on seniors in their community. And the senior ministry is having an impact on the church.
Nancy Malloy coordinates the ministry and keeps volunteers busy. Three times a month, volunteers visit seniors, socializing, delivering food, and singing.
One of those visits is a dinner and game night at Spring Ridge Senior Apartments in Frederick. Church members prepare and bring hot cooked meals and homemade desserts to share with residents. They play games, spend time chatting, offer prayer, and build lasting relationships. Malloy said the men and women at the senior home enjoy the fellowship. Some even started helping by preparing food and bringing it to the table.
Malloy said sometimes parents with young children, and youth participate.
“The kids love it and learn to interact with their ‘grandma’s and grandpas.’ They crawl into their laps with games and say, ‘you want to play this? We’ll show you how!’ It’s a fun night,” Malloy said.
A group of regulars visit monthly but others from the church join in. “There’s always someone different coming along,” said Malloy.
Recently, a men’s group visited. “They love that. The men were funny and kidded with them a lot,” Malloy said.
The senior residents tend a garden at the apartment complex, and at times, they offer produce to the volunteers as a way of “giving back.”
In addition to the game nights, the church, with the help of the local food bank, receives fifteen hundred pounds of food each month to provide to seniors at the apartment complex who need a helping hand. Church members pack the food, and the youth assist with delivery. As they meet the seniors at the door for the deliveries, they ask if there are any prayer requests. Most share a need, and the volunteers, youth included, pray for that need on the spot.
In addition to their ministry to the senior apartment residents, a church small group, led by Tom Heilman also visits Lorien Assisted Living Facility in Mt. Airy each month for a hymn sing.
“Miss Ruby” put together folders with hymn music. Residents are invited to make their selections. Mallow said they’ve gotten to know the residents so well, they know what’s going to be requested: “Amazing Grace,” “In the Garden, “and, “The Old Rugged Cross.” At Christmas, they sing carols.
Malloy acts as a liaison from the seniors to the department of aging and to the church. If someone has a need, they call her and she makes the arrangements.
The ministry, Mallow said, is deepening faith and bridging generations.