Gathering in communal living spaces to bring the blessing of music and fellowship
For the last few years, First United Methodist Church of Mt. Dora has led Fresh Expressions in nursing homes and assisted living facilities (ALF). Their outreach in communal living spaces reaches around 40 people per month.
Often, ALFs or nursing homes do not have paid chaplains. Instead, the church has worked with activity directors at these facilities to offer this outreach. Additionally, the key to their outreach is finding “people of peace” who will share the meaningfulness of the outreach with fellow residents. In fact, with one facility, this Fresh Expression started because one of the residents who knew Pastor David Averill said he needed to come and share a message with the residents. Not long after, God answered the prayer for a couple who provides musical leadership.
While some meetings take the form of a more conventional chapel service, other times residents spend time singing Christmas carols together or listening to friends share their musical talents. One couple put on a concert with euphoniums. Pastor Averill shares that connections are made when deep listening is occurring: “Residents really want to be seen and heard for who they are as children of God. It is the church as people brought together by the Holy Spirit at the most basic level.”