By Ken Marsh (pictured right) and Moe Isenberg (pictured left)
Moe Isenberg recently shared with me a piece he wrote in the 1980’s titled “What I get out of taking communion to shut-ins?” Moe summed it up in one word: PEACE! In that one word, Moe beautifully sums up all the feelings, emotions and activities that go into being a Lay Eucharistic Visitor. I encourage you to click the link above and read his original article.
For me, the words that rang out were Participation, Enjoyment, Action, Community and Emotion. Moe used other words to capture all that goes into being a Lay Eucharistic Visitor centering around the word PEACE.
“Peace” is the first word that comes to mind when I visit a St. John’s family member…
…and “Communion” is the second word when I leave a St. John’s family members home. I have immense joy in going to see our St. John’s family members, hearing their stories since my last visit of what they have been up to, their joys and challenges, memories of the past and what is happening at St. John’s. There is a peaceful connection in sharing stories and that special time together closing with the Lay Eucharistic Prayer Service. For me, the visit offers a way of being in Communion with our Lord, and us being in communion with one another, until our next visit.
And now it is time to hear from my special friend Moe of what it is like now to be on the receiving end of Lay Eucharistic Ministry after having once been a Lay Eucharistic Visitor:
First, I want to thank Ken for his kind words about our mutual interest around being part of the Lay Eucharistic Ministry. When my wife, Carroll, and I moved to North Carolina six years ago, one of our first priorities was to find an Episcopal Church. We were lucky our daughter, Jo, knew a great Church and had visited St. John’s Episcopal Church. Our first Sunday here we felt right at home with the friendly welcome that we received. As we passed the Peace, the couple in front of us was Ken and his wife, Gail.
This became part of our weekly routine, and we knew that we would be welcomed here every Sunday. With my background of serving in the Lay Ecumenical Ministry, I was honored when Mother Sarah allowed me to continue serving in this Ministry here at St. John’s. I was able to serve shut-ins at the senior living home where we lived. Now I am on the receiving end of this ministry, being a recipient rather than a giver. Currently, I think “peace” is still the word that comes to mind as I receive this Ministry.
Now as a recipient of this Lay Ministry, a new set of words come to the top of my mind including blessing, thankful, love, and gratefulness. Happiness also comes to my mind when I think about St. John’s having this Ministry and there are people like Ken and others to perform this important service. To sum up my thoughts, from both the point of view of the Lay Minister as well as the recipient, the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do you unto you,” best describes my feelings. And now that I am the recipient of this wonderful Lay Ministry, I have “peace” knowing that someone like Ken is there ministering to me.
Moe, thank you in joining me to author this article. If you, as the reader of this article, are interested in becoming a Lay Eucharistic Visitor – please reach out to Carol Friedman, Kitty Kovacd, Barbara in the Church Office, or Mother Sarah.
And finally, if you are homebound, have not recently had Communion at church, and would like to receive a Lay Eucharistic Visit please contact the church office at 919-556-3656.