Love your neighbor… Begin to know who they are.

This is my first post in nearly a year at MaryMac Missions. I became unavailable to write here with so much happening at our home, Rest.Stop.Ranch Respite Retreat Center and Accessible Gardens in Topsfield, MA, USA.

Since my last post, we published the 2017 MaryMac Missions Annual Report. A copy was mailed to 2018 donors before the end of 2018.

Before the end of 2018, in October, I lost my Uncle Malcolm Fraser of Haverhill, MA USA, to a form of degenerative brain disease. He was my mother Margaret’s younger brother.

Now it is 2019. Finishing up February Love Month, the most important topic right now, for me, is the Love of Neighbor. I am an interfaith chaplain for long-term-care givers and receivers North of Boston. As with all who minister to all ages and abilities, faiths, creeds, colors, genders, sexual orientations… it is critical to be rooted in one’s own spiritual tradition. Still, a cradle “small c” catholic, I attend regularly a Sunday mass with a lay-led community North of Boston. Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday are next Tuesday 3/5/19 and Wednesday 3/6/19. Our last Memory Café at 124 River Road, Trinity Church Topsfield is 3/2/19. We’ll be making Sun Hats for Spring – which will arrive 3/20/19.

I’ve greatly appreciated the collaboration we’ve had with Trinity Church Topsfield and the Town of Topsfield Council on Aging the last two winter seasons – 2017-18 and 2018-19 – to offer an indoor Memory Café at 124 River Road (Trinity Church). This collaboration has enabled us in Topsfield to go from a seasonal Memory Café in the Garden®, offered just 7 months per year, to a year-round program offering.

Connected to the theme of hosting a Memory Café in Topsfield – I heard last week at our Dementia Friendly Topsfield meeting that Pastor Johanna Barrett of Trinity Church was going to be facilitating a Lenten Book Group, reading and discussing the book by Colette Bachand-Wood “Do This, Remembering Me: The Spiritual Care of Those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.” It was exciting to hear that a local, woman clergy, my friend, Jo is offering this now! I confirmed I and 2 more from my church could join the group and ordered 3 copies of the book today.

Reflecting more on the book group at Trinity, I was inspired to consider taking an Ecumenical Lenten and Easter Journey away from my home church – at Trinity. I’m planning to join as many programs as possible there, March and April. This will be a chance to meet, begin to know, and begin to love — more of my Topsfield neighbors.

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