Jean Skiver, 85, just never got around to being baptized. She attended a Baptist church with her first husband, and became close to the pastor’s wife. Her second husband was an active member of a Lutheran church, and she attended worship services with him but never formally joined.
Jean moved to The Terraces in Grand Rapids, which offers catered independent living for active seniors, 13 years ago. She says it’s a very caring community.
That changed on January 11, when Jean was baptized during the afternoon service at Trinity Chapel at The Terraces at MapleCreek.
“When I moved here, I met a man who is still a friend and who was active in the chapel. I would also attend his Lutheran church in the community,” said Jean, who spent her working years as a housekeeper in a hospital and a college.
At MapleCreek, Jean enjoys the wide variety of social activities that offer fellowship with other residents. She started going to a volunteer-led Bible study Because Jean has some health problems that it hard for others to understand her, she doesn’t like to speak in group settings. She relies on her friend, Barb Bell, who also lives at MapleCreek, to be her voice, helping her to participate in activities she formerly avoided. She also began talking to MapleCreek's chaplain, Rebecca Ebb-Speese, known as Pastor Becky, about spiritual matters. Jean says she enjoys exploring issues of faith.
Early in the new year, Jean told Pastor Becky she wanted to be baptized. “I want to accept God and to feel more connected to church,” she said. “I had my children baptized and now it’s time for me.”
Pastor Becky officiated at the ceremony and Barb Bell served as Jean's sponsor.
“My quality of life has changed since I moved to MapleCreek and started attending spiritual activities,” Jean said. “I know these are good for me. I feel better about my life.”
After witnessing Jean’s baptism, another resident came to Pastor Becky and said she’d never been baptized either, and she wanted to do it too. Her ceremony was held the following day, with all the residents in attendance serving as sponsors.