When a friend experiences a devastating loss like the death of a spouse, they need lots of love and support from family and friends. As people age, that becomes even more important since they may not live close to their children and grandchildren. Residents in a nursing facility have an advantage in this situation, as the bonds that form can fill in some of those gaps in family time.
"Newton Village is a Christian-based, family-oriented community," explained Pastor Bob Spilger, a full-time staff member at Newton Village. "Residents provide extraordinary support, friendship and prayers to each other when one is experiencing tough times."
Pastor Bob introduces himself to each resident when they first move to Newton Village. "My goal is to empower people to care for one another," he said. "It's how a community should be."
Pastor Bob has learned through experience that people have to be ready to talk about their grief after suffering an overwhelming loss. "Grief can be so sharp that people need time to process it before they can discuss it," he said. "Recently, I had a couple moving to Newton Village, and the husband had to go into skilled nursing. He passed away, and his wife asked for some time before my visit. I've discovered that people just want someone to listen to them, not to fix the situation."
Even though many residents are connected with other churches when they come to Newton Village, Pastor Bob becomes their pastor, too. "I've been at Newton Village for three years, but I've been involved in pastoral ministry for 35 years," he added. "I offer two worship services each Sunday, along with Bible studies and one-on-one visits during the week. Our residents are terrific at helping each other navigate a grief journey; they bring meals and let their friends know they care. Even small, simple favors can be a large gesture."
110 N. 5th Avenue W
Newton, Iowa 50208