Rev. Mary Bielke, Cedar Crest Chaplain, leads an informal, discussion group called "Spiritual Connections," held the fourth Monday of each month at 3 p.m. in the Chapel. An opportunity for Independent Living residents to visit with their Cedar Crest neighbors, the group is reviewing "The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully" by Joan Chittister, the outspoken Benedictine nun, activist, and lecturer. The book is a collection of inspirational reflections, and chapters ponder such topics as finding meaning in our lives, independence, and the joy of possibility. Residents are encouraged to bring keepsakes to the discussions, such as a poem, photo, or musical instrument, and share how it relates to that month's topic.
"We have a core group of about 10 residents who come consistently, and there are others who come only occasionally," says Rev. Bielke. "But Spiritual Connections is truly open to everybody. Many of the attendees don't even know the others' faiths. The discussion group was founded by one of Cedar Crest's prior Chaplains, Rev. John Froiland, to ‘connect on a human level.' I think we definitely achieve that."
Rev. Bielke previously served as Chaplain at Heartland Hospice in Rockford, Illinois, and Pastor at the Canaan Moravian Church in Davenport, North Dakota.