The Nurture Outreach Ministry of Taylor Memorial Methodist Church is chaired by Homerzell Swisher Harris. The ministry is an effort to keep those members involved who can’t make it to services or activities. Here is a message from the chair about what the ministry does:
“The purpose of Nurture Outreach is to extend a personal touch to the members of the church in time of need. Since I accepted the position of chair I have focused on reaching out to the members who are confined to their homes or care facilities. I have a team of five members who have been faithful to fulfilling this mission for more than four years. Every Tuesday we select one member to visit. We have been well received, bringing prayer, song and conversation. To our delight, Pastor Jenkins joins us when his schedule permits.
“When I first accepted the position of chair of Nurture Outreach I observed that one area of concerns in the church was lacking. As I looked at the sick and shut-in members, I saw that many of the names were people who had once been very active and productive members when they were able. With the exception of acknowledgement, they were all but forgotten. There was no formal visitation mechanism. Some people had been unable to come to church for years, but still supported the church and wanted to know what was happening at their church.
“Another unanticipated aspect of our visits has been our connecting with other members of their families. They have shown their appreciation in many ways. This is especially true for those members in care facilities. Several of our members have children and siblings who live out of state who keep in touch with us even when their loved one has passed away. I have spoken as part of the funeral services because of the relationship established with this mission, at the request of the family. We actually feel like extended family.
“Two of the people we currently visit are 103 and 107, respectively. They look forward to our visits and love to sing the spirituals along with us. No visit is complete without prayer and scripture. I also make them a dozen old-fashioned tea cakes if their diets allow.
“In short, the mission has been a joy for the givers and receivers. Who we can’t go out [to see, we] try to call those who can receive phone calls.”
Yours in Christ,
Homerzell Swisher Harris
In addition to these efforts, the names of these confined members are published in church programs with instructions that anyone who wishes to reach out to them get contact info from the church office. Other ministries chip in as well, to provide materials to these members.