Yesterday I visited a residential care home – this is a first for me. I visited with some people from St Stephens who run a short service for the people living here every week. I have not experienced ministry in a residential care home before and I have great admiration for those that clearly love this ministry.
I was really impressed by the quality of the care and the home itself. It was a really lovely place to live. I was struck also by the compassion I observed from the church team to both the residents and the staff which was very much a two way thing. The staff and the residents were clerly pleased to see us. This group of Christians really were good news to everyone they met in that building.
It’s interesting to compare this with my level of engagement. I guess I felt pretty much disabled as, if I am honest, I had no idea on what level to engage in such an environment. I had been well briefed but when there I struggled to respond in any meaningful way.
I felt this way in the first few months of my visits to the pub, but in that location I was able and ready to respond appropriately when needed. I felt at ease and ready to respond. Today, I felt something different; I felt unable to respond or engage as if I had to fight to remain open. I did not feel at ease or able to see how to respond. I could see the excellent people I was with leading the way … but for the first time in a very long time I felt myself holding back. If I am honest I think there was a personal reluctance to engage. I am not sure if it was simply being a totally new environment or whether its simply that this setting is just not for me … I guess that question will only be answered in time a I visit more homes.