Like many Christian congregations, my birth church offers the Stephen Ministry , a program that provides one-on-one support from a congregant for people having difficulties in life.
That presents ME with a challenge! I’ve had older friends who requested visits from the Stephen Ministry but were put off when the assigned contact wanted to delve into their problems when their problem was not having anyone to just talk to, to share info on what was happening in the broader community to which they no longer had ready access.
The guantlet thrown down by the Stephen Ministry? To develop Anne’s Ministry, similar in that it’s a volunteer-based, peer-to-peer program BUT one focused on JOY. That shares who’s getting married, just became grandparents, what’s happening in our three schools – elementary/high school/college. Volunteers who could go over the Bryn Athyn POST for news of the week, who’d get to know their older friend’s interests, what sort of news they’re interested in hearing, what seems to trigger happiness. Not to help solve problems or alleviate depression, but, through social connection of the joyful kind, to PREVENT them.
A worthy challenge – ACCEPTED!