God is doing great things in Phoenix. Stoneridge hospice chaplains, LCMS pastor Timothy Duerr, chaplain Mark Kempf and various Lutheran churches around Phoenix have partnered to share God’s love in tangible ways.
About 10% of Stoneridge Hospice’s patients are active Christians who attend worship regularly and can speak about their faith in Jesus without hesitation.
About 10% want nothing to do with a chaplain. 10% belong to another religion. Around 20% have some resentment toward the church or organized religion. They often cite clergy scandals and churches asking for money as reasons they don’t go to church.
And about 50% tend to be cultural “Christians.” Those who refer to themselves as Christians though they have not been to church in 30 or 40 years. When asked if they will go to Heaven say, “I’m not sure.” or “I hope I’ve been good enough…”
The ministry of sharing the Gospel with these groups centers around building trust and relationships.
The quilting ministries from St Mark Lutheran Church (Phoenix), Fountain of Life Lutheran Church (Sun-City), Christ’s Greenfield Lutheran Church (Gilbert), and Hosanna Lutheran Church (Mesa) have blessed Rev. Duerr’s ministry by providing over 100 hand-made quilts that are given to every new patient.
The quilters pray over every quilt. Rev. Duerr says, “These beautiful, hand-made, caring gifts open doors that would otherwise be closed to the chaplains by providing opportunities to discuss the patient’s spiritual beliefs, church experience and the Gospel message itself.”
Along with quilts, Pastor Tim has been blessed by volunteers and Stephen Ministers from St. Mark Lutheran Church (Phoenix) and Holy Cross Lutheran Church (Scottsdale), who visit, play piano, offer emotional support and prayer with these patients and their families.
This past Christmas the pre-school department at Scottsdale Christian Academy donated hand made teddy bears to give out to their patients with notes sharing “a warm Christmas hug” from this bear.
And the Sunday school classes at St Mark Lutheran made hand-drawn and colored Christmas cards and nativity ornaments which were given out to let everyone know that Jesus is the reason for the season. Such special gifts melt the heart and allow for deep, heartfelt conversations.
With these partnerships, Rev. Duerr has also had the privilege of providing Lutheran-specific care for members who were in need of hospice at these partner churches in the Phoenix area.
Stoneridge has also partnered with Fountain of Life Lutheran church (Sun City) to offer free grief support groups and promote the grief support groups at St Mark Lutheran Church (Phoenix) so that bereaved hospice families can receive grief support at a local Lutheran church rather than attending a secular support group at a community center.
If you live in the Phoenix area and you are interested in hosting a free-grief support group, or if you have a Stephen Ministry or quilting ministry that would be interested in serving your community and partnering in this specialized way, you can contact Pastor Tim Duerr at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us in prayer!
Lord God Almighty, we thank you for all the chaplains serving in various capacities in the PSD. Please bless them and their work. We ask for your continued blessings over Rev. Duerr and all the churches partnering in Pheonix to share your love with those in hospice. Amen.
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