Rev. Leigh Boelkins Van Kempen
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all…” (Ephesians 4: 4-6a)
Seventy-five years ago, when Resthaven began, it was intended for older Reformed and Christian Reformed people, mostly women. The pastors and elders founded this ministry to intentionally support the aging members of their congregations. Part of the care they planned to offer was spiritual care, and it was delivered from a very reformed perspective. I’d guess that there was no thought that people of other faith expressions might use the services that Resthaven provided.
Fast-forward to the present, and not only does Resthaven provide spiritual care regardless of faith traditions, Resthaven provides it with a female chaplain! One does not need to be a Christian to live at Resthaven, and one does not need to be a Christian to work at Resthaven, but our mission statement explicitly states that we are serving others as Christ would. Because we believe in the diverse body of Christ—male, female, rich, poor, Protestant, Catholic—we strive to demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus Christ every day to everyone.
I am grateful that I can do this in collaboration with clergy from many faith traditions. I am especially appreciative that my Catholic colleagues provide such consistent, loving care to our Catholic residents. I am extremely moved when a resident who no longer remembers her own name still knows when to cross herself at the end of a prayer. I am touched when deep spiritual memories still resonate. As Paul reminds us, “There is one body and one Spirit…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all…” It is this one body that we celebrate with our brothers and sisters from Catholic, Baptist, Reformed, Lutheran, Pentecostal and many other faiths!