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Spiritual support abundant on campus during pandemic

From the way we eat to how we socialize and exercise, everything has looked a little different since mid-March. That includes how we’ve received spiritual support from our clergy, too.

“Although connections have looked different the last six months, our clergy have continued to stay involved. Many call routinely, some may Zoom or do virtual chats, and they send prayer cards. Several have offered inspirational words and cards for staff and continue to ask how they can be praying for us. And Father Marc McDonald with St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church dropped off a coloring book for a resident as a way to cheer her up. They have worked hard to ensure the people who belong to their churches continue to feel connected, even if it’s in a different way. They are amazing!” said Crystal Stock, marketing director.

Rev. Phyl Stutzman with her daughter, Annora, before the 2019 luminary lighting on campus

One pastor who regularly checks-in with residents is Rev. Phyl Stutzman with Emporia Presbyterian Church.

“Manor staff have been helpful in helping EPC members at the Manor navigate new technologies so they can join our regular online worship. I also send out weekly Sermons at Home to members (and friends) who request it via email or USPS that include the bulletin from Sunday worship as well as the sermon. And, as always, I keep tabs on EPC family and friends via phone and mail while in-person visits are suspended, providing support and pastoral care as best I can in those ways,” said Rev. Phyl.

Fr. Brandon Farrar with Sacred Heart Catholic Church also provides guidance from a safe distance.

“We know how deeply the Sacraments and fellowship centered around the Lord is needed in general. This is clear in our larger population in terms of companionship and purpose and an encounter with the Divine. I suspect this is even more deeply felt by those more restricted in their interactions and activities. At this time, we have been asked to suspend all of our activities, which is sad but understandable. Without having access to the residents, we rely more on the staff, while spiritually accompanying everyone from afar,” said Pastor Farrar.

If you’re interested in making a spiritual connection, please don’t hesitate to reach out to staff. We have a great network of clergy to provide support however you’d like to receive it.

“My hope is that EPC members and other Manor friends know we are here for them during these hard days. The church phone is always on. We're online or a quick call or a slightly-less-quick letter away. Collective trauma, stress, and grief is precisely that -- collective. Whether we can be together in-person or not, we are in this together, and it's important to maintain connections to see each other through this dark valley to the bright light of hope and promise when we're through,” said Rev. Phyl.

Photo at the top: In November 2019, Presbyterian Manor residents enjoyed children from EPC leading worship in the Chapel.

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