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Honoring loved ones while offering hope

Light for the Way seriesWe invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.

By Pastor Erin Hittle, Avalon Square

Yesterday was Memorial Day. I hope you had a chance to participate in the purpose of the holiday, which is to remember and be grateful for the members of our armed forces who died in service to our country.

Here in the communities of Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS), we recognize the importance of memorials. Part of our calling as a ministry is to care for residents with dignity, love, and respect from the time they arrive until the time of their death.

We have even created our own services, the Bedside Memorial and Procession of Honor, that help us do this.

I vividly remember the first time I ever experienced a PHS memorial. Back when I was first applying at PHS, I was in the middle of an interview when a Procession of Honor occurred. The HR manager and campus administrator paused the interview, and we went to the town center to read the script, hear the scripture, recite the prayers, and say our final goodbyes. I remember being so moved by this simple service and impressed by the way PHS lived out its Christian culture. It was this experience that solidified my desire to be a part of this ministry.

For us, as a Christian ministry, a memorial is not just about remembering and honoring. It’s also an opportunity to share the good news of the gospel. When we gather for a memorial service, we share memories of the departed, we thank God for their life, but most importantly, we boldly proclaim that their life is not done.

Gathered at bedsides, at front doors or in chapels, we are saying this person mattered to us, and they matter to God. We are showing that they are loved by us and are beloved of God. We are proclaiming their memory will live on, and they live on in a new and miraculous way with God.

The Rev. Erin Hittle has served PHS as the campus pastor at Avalon Square in Waukesha, Wisconsin, since 2014. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She is passionate about music, end-of-life care, ecumenism, and the healing power of laughter and touch. She and her husband, Doug, are raising their three redheaded kiddos - and have recently decided to add four more legs to their family in their giant rescue puppy, Scout! 

The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.

Find more in the Light for the Way series:

Get to know us: a Christian ministry
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series

In addition to Light for the Way, you can find reflections, devotions, music and other resources on the Pastoral Care resources website

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