Ministry at Meadbank
“When I was sick (frail/aged) you visited me” … and prayed with me … and brought me communion Matthew 25: 31-40
Have you ever wondered where you, or your parents or loved ones, will end your days? And what would happen when you or they could no longer attend church? How will you be able to worship with others … or receive communion?
Part of St Mary’s hidden outreach is the fortnightly service of the Eucharist at Meadbank, a large nursing home, which lies in the heart of our parish. A small team of lay people lead and help with this, taking the reserved sacrament which has been previously consecrated at one of our church services. Numbers understandably fluctuate depending on their health, but we usually see around 20 residents with a variety of needs; and they form a close and vital congregation. After the service people who have been unable to attend are visited in their rooms so we can pray with them and sometimes give them communion.
Those of us who are involved with helping (Diana, Carol, Doris and I) describe it as a precious event with a wonderful atmosphere – a privilege, a truly humbling and inspirational time, and one of the most worthwhile things we do. We were all pretty inexperienced when we started but it is a gentle and encouraging place in which to grow. Diana says it has also been wonderful to see the growing involvement and enthusiasm of the participants. Doris says she feels at home with the residents during the service and fulfilled when offering prayers to those who cannot make it to the service. Carol says she always comes away refreshed by her time there; and that partaking of Holy Communion with the residents of Meadbank has become very special to her.
The Activities staff are a great support and include several Christians who themselves like to participate in the service. They keep an eye out for who might like to attend and bring them to the service; and let us know who would like a room visit. They comment: “St. Mary’s has become a vital part of our community providing spiritual care to our C of E residents. Their work in our care home is essential to our residents’ wellbeing and would not be the same without their kind volunteers. They are very dedicated in assisting Meadbank’s residents in fulfilling their religious needs and to help them navigate the good and hard times that life brings.”
We asked residents for feedback about what our ministry means to them:
Mary: I enjoy coming to the services and find the team members of St Mary’s inspiring.
Emily: I like to have communion. Thank you very much.
Jonathan: I miss my church and it’s so wonderful to be able to attend services here at least once a month – we all need that uplift.
Georgina: I came back to church because of you.
Aline: I like to go to church and I like to sing hymns with everyone.
Betty: I’ve always been to church – it means a lot to me having the connection with people from St Mary’s – it’s very important.
We have been taking services at Meadbank for over 20 years and we now desperately need one or two more people to join our team. If this article has touched you and you feel called to help please talk to one of our team or contact me, Simon or Peter. It’s a flexible rota, only 2 hours roughly once a month … on a Monday afternoon. Come along once and see what it’s like.
Alison Wintgens ([email protected] 020 7720 9708)