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Bower Memorial launches hospice ministrycomment (0)

February 2, 2012

By Brian Blackwell

Jim Griffin knows firsthand the important role Christian compassion can play in the lives of families whose loved ones are placed on hospice.

Griffin witnessed the concern that hospice staff showed for his mother when she was placed on hospice a few years ago before passing away a few days after entering the program. So when he learned of a hospice ministry in the state, he thought the time had come to implement a similar ministry at Bower Memorial Baptist Church, Evergreen.

“During the brief time my mom was on hospice, the staff were such a big help to my family, who really needed assistance to help us get through this tough ordeal,” said Griffin, pastor of the Conecuh Baptist Association church for the past three years. “While our men’s ministry was already meeting together each month, I felt like we could become even more involved in local missions. With our emotional connections with hospice, this seemed like a natural fit.”

“This” is Hearts In Hands, a Shelby County-based ministry started by Frank Burder in 2008 to provide assistance to hospice patients and their families through yard work, home repair and other ministry efforts. In 2011, Burder, a member of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, and others from Hearts In Hands traveled to the church to share more details about the ministry.

Once the presentation concluded, Griffin and other church leaders were convinced they needed to pursue this ministry opportunity further.

Their efforts soon led to the construction of a movable wheelchair ramp for a woman in the area on hospice. Church member Rodger Carroll helped design the ramp, which can now be reassembled for another hospice patient in the area.

Carroll, whose stepdaughter was on hospice at one time, said helping to design the ramp was his way of giving back to those who showed love at a time when his family needed it. “I see this as another way to reach out to people outside the walls of the church,” he said. “This new ministry is a way for people to know we are here to serve them in the love of Christ.”

He and Griffin were among eight men who, in the fall of 2011, participated in several training sessions required to minister alongside hospice patients. The sessions included an overview of hospice, CPR training and how to relate to hospice patients and their families. Another session is planned for sometime later this year.

Of course, this ministry is just one of many Bower Memorial Baptist missions efforts.

“Our mandate is to go and make disciples,” Griffin said. “Missions can be going off to a foreign country, but it’s also spreading the gospel right here. That’s what we’re trying to do with Hearts In Hands, and we hope that it will continue to grow so we can continue helping those hospice patients in need both physically and spiritually.”

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