December 29th, 2011 at 6:00 am
Every person hopes to live a life that will be remembered, that will spread a legacy of honor and good for generations, for family that is to come.
First Baptist Church in Richardson is helping remember the lives of senior adults through a ministry that allows elderly church members to record their life stories and key life moments so that they can leave their legacy for their families and future generations.
This is “an opportunity for our seniors and for their family to capture a brief overview of their life,” said Rebekah McDermott, volunteer coordinator of Legacy.
The program offers a free hour-long recording to senior adults in the church so that they have a living heritage to share with their families.
“It is so important to capture the video, the gestures, the voice, the person for future generations to see,” Rebekah said.
Each interested senior is given a video example of a Legacy recording and a packet of information, complete with a list of questions to help them think through the information they would like to share.
“The biggest obstacle we have is that they are feeling overwhelmed by how they should begin [the recording] and what they should say. They get excited about the project, but they get overwhelmed with what to say. For us, the biggest objective is helping them get past the obstacle of it being hard and unmanageable for them.” Rebekah said.
To do this, the list of questions relate to experiences they may want to share, experiences like childhood memories, school days, dreams and aspirations, marriage and family, careers, Christian service and journey, spiritual development and other significant life moments.
The team hosts recording days from 1:30 to 3:30 each Tuesday afternoon during the school year. The team hosts the recordings in the church prayer room, giving the seniors a quiet familiar place to share their stories. More than 12 church members have stepped up to join the Legacy team, with three volunteers serve during each recording – an interviewer, a camera operator and a sound technician.
During the recording, seniors can show photos from their life, mementos or any significant items that help tell their story. The recording can be of an individual senior or a couple, depending on how the seniors would like to tell their stories.
If seniors are not able to come to the church due to being homebound, the Legacy team will take the recording equipment to the individual’s home or assisted living center. If a senior would like to be involved in the project, the team will make it happen, Rebekah said.
“If someone is in urgent need – one of our seniors is in a nursing home and homebound – we take the program to their home or wherever they are so that it is in their convenience and comfort. We try to make it easy for the seniors, very easy to get past ‘Oh, what am I going to say?’ and to help the seniors see how easy it us,” she said.
Since the program started three years ago, the team has recorded 22 seniors. Those who have participated in the recordings have been impressed with the finished product and are so thankful that they finished the Legacy project. Each senior is given one free DVD recording but can purchase additional copies, if desired.
“There was a senior couple that was so excited about doing this. She said, ‘Oh I wish we had something like this when my mom and dad and grandmother were a live.’ Three months after the recording, the husband was out one day and died of a heat attack. They were so thankful that they had made the recording,” Rebekah said.
As senior adults have taken part in this ministry, younger generations also are being challenged and encouraged as they learn more about their parents and grandparents.
“Most of the people who have done this have shared why Jesus is so important in their lives. And when it is in the recording, their children see it in a different light and it makes an impact,“ Rebekah said.
Setting up a Legacy program takes some effort, but it is feasible for any church, Rebekah said. Because of this, Rebekah and the other team members have created a “how to” packet of information to help other churches begin a Legacy ministry and bless the senior adults in their community.
“We have great enthusiasm for this ministry and see this as a wonderful ministry,” she said.
To connect with Rebekah and to get information about starting Legacy in other churches, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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