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Columnist Bill Herr taught high school mathematics and science for 32 years before serving as a volunteer and then as a staff chaplain at two nursing homes.

By Bill Herr

I always said there are four things that determine who we are and who we are becoming. They are the people we’ve known and loved, the experiences we have had, the suffering we have known, and the spiritual growth that is taking place in us. As chaplain I was always responsible for the last one, helping with worship services, leading Bible studies and visiting with residents and praying for them. 

Serving congregation members in a nursing home

Columnist Bill Herr taught high school mathematics and science for 32 years before serving as a volunteer and then as a staff chaplain at two nursing homes.

By Bill Herr

This article is written especially for preachers. I’m certain that one responsibility of a pastor is to bring spiritual nourishment to every member of the congregation. Providing this means the pastor is responsible not only to those that attend worship services, but also to church members that are not able to leave their homes due to aging or health issues, and also to members residing in elderly care institutions.

Curses and prayer

Columnist Bill Herr taught high school mathematics and science for 32 years before serving as a volunteer and then as a staff chaplain at two nursing homes. In this series of articles, he writes about his experiences with elderly residents. He does not use the residents’ real names.

By Bill Herr

Early in my time as chaplain I went into the room of a new lady resident.  I did not know that she had dementia.  As soon as she saw me, she began cursing me.  I tried to introduce myself but she continued cursing.  After a few uncomfortable moments, I excused myself and left the room.  

In the following days, I observed that her husband visited her every day.  She would sit up and he would sit beside her and gently massage the back of her neck and shoulders. One day I entered her room and she was crying softly.  I asked her what was the matter and she said, “I miss my husband.” I asked her if I could pray for her. She nodded and I prayed specifically that her husband would soon be there to see her. When I finished I looked at the doorway and there stood her husband. He had just arrived.  

The kindest acts

Columnist Bill Herr taught high school mathematics and science for 32 years before serving as a volunteer and then as a staff chaplain at two nursing homes. In this series of articles, he writes about his experiences with elderly residents. He does not use the residents’ real names.

By Bill Herr

Some of the kindest acts I have ever witnessed occurred when residents in nursing homes did acts of love and kindness toward fellow residents. One example was an exchange between Harry and Jim. 

A story about a woman who voted in 1915

By Fred Steiner
www.BlufftonForever.com

The 19th amendment guaranteed all American women the right to vote on Aug. 1920.

Despite that date, a brief notation in my grandmother’s diary reads: “I went to vote and Margaret and Florence went with me. Margaret is one year old, Nov. 2, 1915.”

The note with the 1915 date confused me. I knew that women did not receive their constitutional right to vote until the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified.

So, how could she vote in 1915?

CONTINUES

By the light of a single firefly

By Robert McCool

I have been so fortunate in my life so far that I have had opportunities to share my love of books and the written word with the readers of this column on a semi-regular basis.

I began to write for the Icon when founder Fred Steiner asked me to review books that I liked, and I chose those contemporary popular fiction ones that I believed had a quality or message that meant something important to our current time and circumstances. I was lucky to find those books on the new books shelf of my local library, and sometimes I took the suggestions of my fellow book lovers. It was a joy to bring the book alive with my reviews, and I actually managed to read and write about each book in a week's time. That was how much I enjoyed the task.

When the new owner of the Icon took over, she allowed me to keep this column and even encouraged my writing. And the Icon flourishes under her management. I believe that I had more interested readers that followed me then. The support that I received made me want to write better and more relevant reviews than I had ever done before.

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