Service adventures provide zest at Dock Woods

Russ Mast

mission-fair-3.jpg“Service stimulates the mind and unleashes God-given gifts and passions.” So says Dock Woods Community resident Claude Good, as he describes the vision behind a recent mission and service fair for Dock Woods residents.

“I am very concerned about people who retire and think the productive part of life is over,” says Claude. “So many people have ‘bloomed’ in their older years. They’ve found something that was stirring within them all their lives, and now they are free to explore it more fully.”

When Claude considered serving on the spiritual life committee at Dock Woods, he began to think of how central Jesus’ example of service to others is to our Anabaptist faith and wanted to ensure that such an active spirituality was promoted. Claude explained, “I began to think about how volunteering can add ‘zest’ to an older adult’s life, and before I knew it I was passionately discussing the need to promote service and volunteerism across our campuses.”

The spiritual life committee shared Claude’s vision and began planning a mission and service fair to connect residents with opportunities to serve. The event featured representatives from 20 service organizations including MCC’s Material Resource Center of Harleysville, MAMA Project, Liberty Ministries, American Red Cross and Amnesty International.

Rick Young of Liberty Ministries commented, “In my experience, this is the first time an area retirement community has sponsored such an event, and the opportunity to interact with older adults and discuss opportunities to minister and serve has proven valuable—both for Liberty and for the Dock Woods residents.”

For many years, Dock Woods has partnered with Liberty Ministries on the group’s Christmas stocking program, distributing bags of toiletries to prisoners around Christmas. Now the vision is expanding. As Rick explained, “Following the great conversations I had with Dock Woods residents, our staff at Liberty Ministries is actively brainstorming about new ways to enable older adults to share in our ministry to prisoners and their families.”

The volunteer coordination office of Dock Woods Community was also on hand to promote service within the community, an area where Dock Woods already excels. Countless residents join with volunteers from the broader community each week to run the gift shop, interact with residents in skilled nursing, assist with activities in assisted living, and much more.

“Walking into the mission and service fair’s array of displays gave the feeling of walking into a smorgasbord of service adventures, each offering exciting opportunities for service,” said Merlin Hedrick, Director of Pastoral Services at Dock Woods. “Our hope was to inspire even more to see how easy and rewarding it is to make a positive difference in the world.”

In addition to helping organize the event and attending as a resident, Claude Good also represented Franconia Mennonite Conference’s WORM Project. As residents approached Claude’s booth, he explained how medication was available to help prevent worm infestations in children for just pennies a pill, making this medication available in approximately 70 countries worldwide.

Following the fair, a resident approached Claude about bringing WORM Project coin collection containers to an upcoming Dock Woods resident prayer meeting so residents could give the jars to their grandchildren. Only time will tell how many more lives will continue to bloom, as older adults respond to the stirring within them to give of themselves and make this world a better place—one service adventure at a time.

Dock Woods Community

A vibrant community that integrates continuing care retirement living with affordable housing and services for older adults and families, Dock Woods Community is a living dedication to the enhancement of life for older adults and families, rooted in the Mennonite heritage of Christian values.