Ministry team brings joy to Bradley Bay residents
Sunday afternoon usually means football, chips and salsa. But this Sunday afternoon is different.
In a welcoming room tucked away in a shady street in Bay Village, a woman with soft white hair hasn’t spoken for days. But this Sunday, she quietly sings the words to “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” a familiar hymn she learned as a girl.
“It's amazing how a person who I have seen every other week for a year can't remember me, but lights up at the familiar lyrics of hymns they sang as a young person,” says Erin Hubbard, a member of the Bradley Bay ministry team of Providence Church.
Every other Sunday afternoon, the ministry team drives to Bay Village after attending services at Providence Church in Avon. The team spends the afternoon giving the gift of worship, Scripture, and smiles to the residents at Bradley Bay Health Center. Many of the residents sing along with the time-tested melodies that they learned long ago. Some even remember the familiar passages of Scripture that are read.
After the short service, members of Providence Church shake hands and exchange smiles with the residents. Some sit next to wheelchairs for conversations with residents who have become long-time friends. The team has been visiting Bradley Bay for more than three years.
The residents enjoy seeing the team each time they arrive. “They love it. They absolutely enjoy it,” says Sarah Duley, activity director at Bradley Bay. “It’s a rewarding thing. The residents here can become very isolated, so unless the community comes in to them, they don’t get to experience something like a church service. It makes them feel good,” when groups of all ages, especially kids, come to sing, play, or just talk.
But the Providence team has found that they receive as much encouragement as they come to give. Hubbard tells of one of her good friends, Timothy, whose wife, Joan, “has had severe Alzheimer's since we’ve been doing services” at Bradley Bay. Timothy faithfully attends the service each time the Providence groups comes by.
“I have been incredibly struck by his commitment to her,” Hubbard recalls. “He was always holding her hand and rubbing her arm. It was such an amazing testimony to me of what marriage is in how he continued to care for her in her debilitating illness.”
Joan has since passed away, but Timothy still comes to worship his God and encourage the team with his unselfish love.
Too often, these inspirational stories do not get the opportunity to surface, since these members of the community are often forgotten. “I have served in many types of ministries and this has been the most amazing experience,” Hubbard says.
Maybe missing one game of Sunday football wouldn’t be too bad after all.