On June 21, 2016, a group of nearly 70 residents and staff gathered under the shade of a tree where the Learning & Wellness Center and new apartments and will be located. The service led by the Pastoral Services team included singing, a resident’s reflections about the trees, and memories from siblings, who are now residents, about their mother who had earlier lived in one of the cottages which will be removed. Chaplain Jim Leaman wrote the poem “Looking Back, Looking Forward” for this occasion, and it is shared at the end of this article.
Larry Zook shared the following words of reflection and anticipation.
I am grateful to all of you who have gathered here today. I really was moved by the words to the song we just sang. My mind is drawn to these words. “Only a house, the earth its floor, Walls and a roof, sheltering people, Windows for light, an open door. Yet it becomes a body that lives when we are gathered here; And know our God is near.”
As we gather here, many come with mixed emotions. The building planned for this space will not only provide living space for residents of Landis Homes, it will also help meet the Learning and Wellness needs of residents and others from the community.
However, the removal of these cottages and the trees towering above them also comes with a sense of loss.
As I think back to my early days at Landis Homes, I recall some of those who lived in these cottages then. The memories I have of these residents are important and will stay with me, even after the buildings are no longer here.
Even as we experience times of great change on this campus, I am very grateful for what will never change.
I think [Chaplain] Naomi [Weaver] expressed this so well in verse three of the song we just sang, “Where we can live and worship together and our faith increase, upheld by love and peace.” *(this added verse was written for this occasion).
My prayer is that through these times of change and growth we will always be reminded of our mission to “Serve aging adults and their families by honoring and enriching their lives in a community of Christ-like love.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD
by Jim Leaman
Sturdy cottages made comfortable homes,
Living spaces for those in senior years.
Bricks and mortar, siding and shingles, built together,
Provided shelter and warmth warding off fears.
Residents came from near and far,
Couples and singles seeking abode.
They came from places around the globe,
Had often traveled many a road.
On Clematis, Freesia and Yarrow they lived,
Building memories, making friends.
A lot of “Hellos,” and many “Good-byes,”
For ‘cross the years change comes and wends.
Now, looking back, we say “Farewell!”
“Farewell!” and “Thanks” for homes lived in,
For trees that offered shelter and shade.
“Thanks be to God for all that’s been!”
Changes come, and memories fade,
But gratitude forever stays.
Sometimes we mourn, sometimes we’re glad,
Yet throughout all – blessed are our ways.
Thank God for vision and for mission!
Give thanks for new anticipation!
We pray safety for ev’ry worker,
And wisdom in collaboration.
God, looking forward, we walk in hope
Towards wellness, new homes, meeting space
That will connect West Campus and East.
Guide, O God; toward you we face.