By Sharon Salyer Herald Writer
EVERETT — “Why don’t we sing a warm-up song?” asked the Rev. Jocelyn Carson, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church.
Carson was signaling the beginning of the monthly hymn sign and celebration of communion at Washington Oaks, an Everett retirement center. She was joined by Clara Griffin, the church’s music director, who played the hymns on the piano.
They began with “Blessed Assurance.”
Carson spoke briefly of the six weeks of Lent. “God has your back,” she said. “Those are good words to think about during Lent.”
Then the group of about 10 people who gathered for the worship service recited the 23rd Psalm in unison.
They next turned the pages of their songbooks to “Beneath The Cross of Jesus.”
“Amazing Grace” seemed to trigger a lifetime of memories for 83-year-old Bob Erickson.
“My dad and mom loved that song and played it every chance they could get,” he said.
Erickson later said that he has had long ties with Trinity Lutheran. He was married there, and his children were confirmed there.
Trinity’s worship service is one part of a pastoral program at Washington Oakes.
The Rev. Jeff Russell, the pastor of Everett’s Central Lutheran Church, leads Bible studies there each month.
“It’s a nice way to include folks,” Russell said. “It’s really important for the church to make sure those people are cared for in their senior years.”
Mark Markuly, dean of the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, said that the school’s curriculum includes a discussion of the issues people encounter as they age.
“There’s different physical needs and medical needs as you get older, also different emotional and spiritual needs,” he said.
“I don’t know a congregation that doesn’t have a deep commitment to the elderly,” he said.
Bertha Enger, 94, said she has been attending the monthly worship services at Washington Oakes for about a year.
Enger said she’s been a long-time member of Trinity, but she sometimes it’s hard for her to get up early enough to attend its Sunday services.
The monthly worship services and Bible study program “means a lot to me,” she said. “Both the pastors are very good.”
Annie Rue, 93, said she’s been attending the monthly worship services since they were launched at Washington Oaks about two years ago.
“My faith in the Lord is at the top of the list of important things in life and has been since I was a child,” Rue said.
Russell said he looks forward to the time he spends with people at the retirement center.
“It’s a great privilege to sit down and hear them talk about their lives, the ups and downs, and what faith has meant to them and how God has used them in a variety of ways,” he said.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org