As a chaplain, I have the privilege of interacting with our residents from varied religious groups and denominations within our Lenbrook Community, as well as those in the community with no set religious affiliation.
I’m a firm believer that everyone needs some type of community in order to thrive -- a belief that's supported by study after study. One of the blessings of a community as large and diverse as Lenbrook is that residents have a vast selection of friends and neighbors available to connect with and create community!
The Chaplaincy Department is part of Lenbrook’s Enrichment Team. We provide a myriad of opportunities for residents to live out their faith here in their community. Our enrichment programs serve to help build community not only through faith-based connections but also through health and wellness, educational, recreational, civic and cultural pursuits as well.
Ecumenical, Vespers and Shabbat Services
As a United Methodist Minister, I am right at home leading and participating in our Sunday ecumenical worship services. I also enjoy the rotating structure of our long-standing tradition of Tuesday evening Vespers Service, where ministers from various churches and universities come and lead us as we end our day.
Another responsibility that I have the privilege of undertaking at Lenbrook is the coordination of Rabbis for the monthly Shabbat service. There are so many aspects of this role that I enjoy:
- I enjoy the opportunity to interact with the rabbinical community in the Atlanta area, to meet new Rabbis and Cantors and invite them into our Lenbrook Community, even if just for a few hours.
- I am renewed by the Shabbat service itself as I recognize anew each month the origins of my own faith tradition, in the ritual and prayers of this Friday evening worship.
Another favorite part of this evening for me is the meal that follows the worship service… not only because the food at Lenbrook is so good, which it is! I love this meal for the community it fosters; residents catching up, welcoming guests, and simply enjoying time spent together.
Community Blossoms in Many Ways -- Big and Small
I am also keenly aware that community occurs outside of worship experiences and for some, community is found outside of any faith tradition. This understanding enables me to recognize the importance of my role in helping build community --whether it is listening to people and helping them connect within the community in ways that work for and are important to them, or taking a few minutes to answer a question or guide someone where they need to go, or simply supporting residents as they live in community.
I see "community" blossoming in big ways and small each and every day throughout Lenbrook. And it is, indeed, a beautiful thing to behold!
Heather Flaherty is a chaplain at Lenbrook, sharing her love of community and spiritual strength with residents and associates alike. She is an ordained Methodist Minister and graduated from Emory University's Candler School of Theology with a Master of Divinity. A chaplain for 10 years, she has served in both hospital and skilled nursing facilities and in the local church setting as a pastor.