As Dr. William Sheldon, Ruling Elder, First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, Charleston; Former Medical Director, provided our prayer of illumination, and reflected on his work at the Village dating all the way back to the 1970’s, we couldn’t help but recall his own mother who played piano for our devotions in Health Care, Pride Memory Care Area – sharing her gifts. Through his eyes too could be seen the vision that guided us from another Mother, the mother of Dr. William McLeod Frampton, Jr., Founder of Presbyterian Home of South Carolina (in memory of whom we receive the Mother’s Day Offering), who had a dream that the Church could provide a place — a Home for older adults, that they would want to come to by choice, a place to keep living life to the full.
The tears of sadness of the horrific events of the past week were still glistening within the eyes of those gathering to celebrate the Ordination and Installation of Russell Steven Blackwelder, M.D., M. Div. to the position of Associate Medical Director of Wellness, Education, and Pastoral Care at The Village at Summerville, Presbyterian Communities of South Carolina; and Assistant Professor and Director of Geriatric Education in the M.U.S.C Department of Family Medicine. The ties that bind our community were felt again and again, even as God was ministering unto us through the familiar routines of ordering worship and proclaiming God’s Word.
As Kathy Ligon, Ruling Elder, Bethesda Presbyterian Church, Camden, SC; President and C.E.O, Presbyterian Communities reflected on her 27 plus years of service to our communities, I could see glistening within her eyes from the sadness of these days, also the joys of this moment and the hopes yet to be realized.
As the Rev. Jeff Kackley, Pastor, Dorchester Presbyterian Church, where the Rev. Dorothy Blackwelder has also served as Associate Pastor, called us forward for the Prayer of Ordination and the Laying on of Hands, not only was the Unity, but the very Spirit – Holy Spirit – felt, interceding with sighs too deep for words. (Rom. 8:26)
After the service, as we were gathering robes and saying “God Be With You!” I remember asking the Rev. Dr. Donnie Woods, Executive Presbyter, Charleston Atlantic Presbytery if he would be able to make it to the Rally on the Bridge scheduled for later that evening (estimate 15000 attended) and he offered, as he had been on the front lines of providing pastoral care to our families and our churches, that he as I would be taking some time to be with his own family. Family, the connection of family was indeed and continues to be the connection we all cherish – the heart to heart, the flesh and the blood that ties us together as one.
As Inez Mitchum, Ruling Elder, Park Circle Presbyterian Church, First Female Moderator of Charleston Atlantic Presbytery, Resident of the Village, introduced and Presented Russ as Candidate for Ordination, she could reflect on her involvement in her invitations and invitations of Russ to preach at our community several times over the past few years.