NOVI, MI ( September 22, 2015) – Fox Run retirement community Pastoral Ministries Coordinator Jamie Flowers says his role is to "provide opportunities for believers to engage in worship and meaningful expressions of their faith, as well as provide opportunities for nonbelievers to investigate faith issues."
He is able to do this at Fox Run where Jewish and Christian residents, people who practice other religions and people who are spiritual without subscribing to any particular doctrine reside.
Not only are people from all religious backgrounds able to live together in harmony, but because of their diversity, they are also able to learn from one another and take advantage of opportunities to share in one another's faith traditions.
One of Flowers' responsibilities is to organize a number of annual events, including Good Friday Service, Seder Meal, National Day of Prayer, Advent Tea, and a memorial service. He also provides pastoral care by visiting residents in the hospital, visiting the bereaved, and providing counsel for those who are struggling.
"Fox Run also plays a key role in supporting residents when they lose loved ones to death or suffer through prolonged illness," says Flowers, who holds three master's degrees. He earned a master's in missions from Wheaton College, a graduate psychology degree from Michigan Theological Seminary, and he studied theology at Moody Theological Seminary.
Residents have had a positive response to the interfaith activities available at Fox Run, as well as the one-on-one services that Flowers, a former hospice chaplain, provides. He says that faith is an important part of life for many of the retirees living there. As people get older, staying connected to their own religious community can sometimes prove challenging. Fox Run steps in to meet their needs.
"Fox Run serves to bridge that gap by providing opportunities to worship on our campus as well as providing shuttle services to many houses of worship on weekends," Flowers says.
Each week, Fox Run's performing arts center holds a Catholic mass and a Protestant (interdenominational) worship service. There are also monthly Catholic masses and weekly communion service at Rose Court, Fox Run's continuing care neighborhood. On-site services make it convenient for residents to continue to worship even if they don't want to go out in inclement weather.
Residents can also explore faith through Bible study groups and interfaith dialogue meetings. Plus, there are prayer circles and uplifting monthly musical services called "Hymnsing" and "Singspiration."
In the coming months, Fox Run residents will have a new opportunity to examine religion and spirituality. Flowers says he has partnered with Holy Family Church to provide the Alpha Course at Fox Run.
"The Alpha Course has been used around the world with over 24 million participants in 112 countries and 169 languages to provide the opportunity for people to understand answers to life's biggest questions from a Christian perspective," says Flowers, who was ordained by Cornerstone Christian Church and has previously served as an associate pastor.
Volunteerism is important to Flowers. He has taken several mission trips, including a trip this past summer to Zambia, where he and his family helped to care for orphaned children in Ndola. He says he is currently working on expanding the volunteer opportunities available to Fox Run residents.
"But my greatest joy may be when a resident drops in my office without an appointment to share a concern or struggle and to ask me to pray with them," he says.