As a faith based organization, the Wauseon Ministerial Association has been reaching out and helping those in need in the community for three decades. Now, they are asking the community to consider helping them.
For those not familiar with this organization, the Wauseon Ministerial Association is comprised of local ministers who collaborate together on spiritual matters as they relate to the community. The organization consists of representation from Methodists, Catholics, Christian Church of the Disciples, Church of God, Baptist, and Lutheran clergy. September through May, they meet once a month at 9:30 a.m. on a Thursday at their various churches.
The community is most likely familiar with the weekly Lenten services and lunches organized by the group and held on Fridays at the noon hour for the six week span between Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On Good Friday, they invite the community every year to a Good Friday service held in the evening. The Wauseon Ministerial Association was also instrumental in the formation of FISH, the local food pantry. At times, the Association has also responded to phone calls from the hospital requesting clergy members to visit patients in the CCU or who are facing terminal conditions and are seeking spiritual comfort.
Although their meetings are held only nine months out of the year, the Wauseon Ministerial Association provides spiritual worship services year round. Residents of both Heartland of Wauseon and Fulton Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Fulton Suites Independent Living are provided with weekly worship services. Familiar hymns, uplifting, encouraging, and comforting messages, and Biblical scripture fill these weekly times of worship. Services are provided to Fulton Manor at 9:30 every Wednesday morning followed by a 10:15 service at Heartland of Wauseon.
Verna Mae Bailey who resides at Fulton Manor and has always been active in church throughout her life enjoys the weekly worship services provided by the Wauseon Ministerial Association. She shares, “We (the residents) look forward to Wednesday morning services. It’s the highlight of my week. The local pastors that come in, we know them. They are personable, and they interact with us. Outside of bingo, it’s the best attended program.”
Pastor Paul Flores, Vice President of the Wauseon Ministerial Association, has the role and responsibility of filling the schedule for these worship services for each of the fifty-two Wednesdays of this year. Despite the organization’s commitment to provide these services to residents, many whom weekly church attendance was a regular part of their daily lives, it has proven to be a challenge.
In the past, services were held concurrently at both Fulton Manor and Heartland but to assist with finding enough volunteers, the schedule was adjusted so one volunteer could perform both services at each facility on the same day. Despite this adjustment, it continues to be a challenge to find enough volunteers for these services that residents enjoy and look forward to. The Association is seeking people who have the heart to share the gospel with our local shut-ins. Sunday School classes, missionaries, retired pastors, prison chaplains, Sunday School teachers, theology/seminary students are all welcomed to volunteer for a Wednesday service time at Fulton Manor and Heartland of Wauseon.
In addition, the Wauseon Ministerial Association would love to see more pastors involved. Pastor Flores challenges local community members: “Ask your pastor if she or he participates. If not, ask why not. If they do, then please thank them.” For pastors not currently involved who are interested in finding out more, they are encouraged to come to a meeting. Monthly meetings consist of a presentation about a ministry related theme such as FISH, prison ministry, or social issues within the community. For more information about the meetings or the weekly services provided to Fulton Manor and Heartland of Wauseon, please contact Pastor Paul Flores at the First Church of God in Wauseon at 419-335-8406.
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