A pastoral change doesn’t need to cause a disruption to the ministry moving forward. Rev. Rob Allen had been working with the leadership of Holden United Methodist Church a year ago to meet a community need. The senior center’s building had been sold, and they needed a place to gather.
“Like most churches, Holden UMC had been primarily focused on how to get young people involved,” said Jenny Allen, district administrator for the Northwest District. “However, after several town halls and leadership meetings, it came to light that senior citizens made up a large part of the town and that the church needed to focus on ways to help them.”
They started to consider how the church could help. Then Allen was sent to a different appointment. So that discussion was already started when Rev. David Mortenson came to the church. One of the first things he mentioned with church leaders was that he felt the church should be open as much as possible and seize opportunities to serve the community. Administrative Council Chair Phillip Roberts told him about the senior center’s need and the opportunity that needs to be presented to make a connection.
“Seniors always played an important part in our community and need a place where they can gather together and have a good meal,” said Philip Roberts, administrative council chair.
Mortenson was all for it. The church recognized this as an important thing and started working on ways they could help, initially considering obtaining periodic access to the existing senior center or acquiring another facility. They finally concluded they could make some adjustments and move the senior center into their building. They would need to give up some space for an office and some kitchen space, but they thought it was worth it.
“I think there would be nothing worse than sitting around all day with no one to talk to,” Roberts said. “This was important for our community.”
The new senior center launched with an open house in April. Meals are brought in from another senior center in the network. The Care Connection is currently open Wednesday through Friday, but the women of Holden UMC are working on plans to expand the service and be open on Tuesday as well.