This year, the Samaritan House ministry will begin to offer Respite Care to hospice certified patients in our area. This effort is in collaboration with Susquehanna Hospice, and will be offered for a minimum of five days to qualified referrals. There is a great need for this service in our area, and this new dimension will also keep volunteers active between guests. Details will be provided as the process unfolds.
Samaritan House will partner with Susquehanna Home Care and Hospice in sharing resources such as Bereavement Follow-Up and Education and
Training. Samaritan House volunteers are welcome to participate in programs
that are offered through Susquehanna Hospice. For more information, call Anna Dunlap (570) 948-9494.
Training Sessions for 2019
Several training opportunities will be offered throughout the new year, beginning in February of 2019. Topics will include: Pastoral Care of the Dying, Confidentiality and HIPPA, Compassion Fatigue, and The Basics (Care of the Dying). Each session will take place from 6:30-8pm at St. Peter's Parish Center. Desserts and beverages will be provided. All volunteers are encouraged to attend, along with a spouse or friend. These trainings are not required, but will serve to inform and refresh.
The first training is scheduled for Thurs., February 21st at 6:30pm. Fr. David Bechtel will speak on "Pastoral Care of the Dying", which will include a discussion on appropriate ways to communicate with guests and their families as death approaches.
Farewell & Gratitude
The Samaritan House Steering Committee members wish to acknowledge Karen Usavage for her many years of service to the Samaritan House as a Program Facilitator and volunteer. Karen will continue to serve as a volunteer for future guests, in between her travels. Thank You, and Best Wishes, Karen!
Sincere thanks to Lillian Fox and Laurie Coffee for representing the Samaritan House at the Alternative Christmas Fair held during the Dickens of a Christmas celebration. $610 was raised to assist the ministry.
All are invited to attend the next Book Group meeting on Mon., Jan. 28th at 6:30pm at the Samaritan House. Participants will discuss plans for the new year, and choose the next title for discussion. Your suggestions for future reading material are welcome. Bring a light snack or beverage to share. For more information, contact Laurie Coffee (570) 549-2210.
Important Policy Updates
Several policies have recently been updated. Please read these carefully, as the procedures have changed.
Time of Death - There will be no housekeeping or disposal of medication until after the
body has been removed from the house. Volunteers are asked to sit quietly and minister to
family members as needed. The body of the deceased should be covered with a sheet or
blanket and, and left undisturbed. Medications will be disposed of by the Hospice nurse who
is present at the time of death, or by a designated member of the Steering Committee. The
guest's possessions may be gathered for the family at an appropriate time after death occurs.
When a guest passes, the volunteer present for that shift should
call only the next volunteer on the schedule. The others will be
notified by a committee member after the house is vacant.
Bereavement Follow-Up will be provided for volunteers as
needed after a guest passes. Samaritan House volunteers are also
invited to take part in the Susquehanna Health Bereavement
Program. More information will be available soon.
Mark Your Calendars! The annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner will be held on Sun., May 19th at St. Peter's Parish Center. Dinner will be provided, and a guest speaker will be present. Mark your calendars and plan to join your fellow volunteers for for this inspiring event.
A New Door Bell
A new door bell has been purchased for the house. This can also be used as a 'call bell' by the guests, as well as to alert volunteers when family and friends visit the house.
The Call to Serve
"The call to serve involves something special, to which we must be attentive. Serving others chiefly means caring for their vulnerability. Caring for the vulnerability of our families, our society, our people. Theirs are the suffering, fragile and downcast faces which Jesus tells us specifically to look at, and which He asks us to love. With a love which takes shape in our actions and decisions. With a love which finds expression in whatever tasks we, as
citizens, are called to perform.
People of flesh and blood, people with individual lives and stories, and with all their frailty: these are those whom Jesus asks to protect, to care for, to serve. Being a Christian entails promoting the dignity of our brothers and sisters, fighting for it, living for it. That is why Christians are constantly called to set aside their own wishes and desire, their pursuit of power and look instead to those who are most vulnerable."
Pope Francis, 2015
20th Anniversary Celebration
This year, the Samaritan House Ministry celebrates 20 years of service within our community. To honor this achievement, all volunteers are invited to take part in a celebration on Sunday, September 23rd from 2-4pm at St. Peter's Parish Center.
This event will include: tours of the Samaritan House, hors d'oeuvres, music by David Driskell, personal testimonies, and a look at our past and future. Please invite family and friends who may be interested in this ministry.
Farewell & Gratitude
The Samaritan House Steering Committee and Volunteers wish to acknowledge Daria Guelig for 20 years of service to the Samaritan House as a volunteer, organizer and Program Facilitator. Daria retired from the latter position in July of this year. She will continue to serve as a volunteer for future guests. Sincere thanks to Daria for her dedication and commitment to Samaritan House, its guests and their families.
Welcome New Facilitators
Anna Dunlap (Medical Facilitator) Anna is originally from Minnesota but spent many years in Montgomery County, PA. She attended Rockford College in Illinois and received a Master's Degree in Health Care Administration from St. Francis University, Illinois. Besides working as a paramedic for several years, she worked the last 25 years of her career in the field of Cardiology, primarily working in a Cardiac Cath Lab and managing both Cath Labs as well as Non-Invasive Cardiology departments. Anna and her husband, Neil, moved to Stony Fork in 2014. Anna is a member of St. Peter's Church in Wellsboro.
Linda Sampson (Administrative Facilitator) Linda has been a resident of Wellsboro for 36 years. She was born and raised in Elk County, PA and graduated from DuBois Business College. Linda has two daughters, Erin and Meghan, and two grandchildren, Luke and Leah. She lives with her husband, Tom, in Wellsboro. Linda was an active volunteer for several years after the Samaritan House welcomed its first guest. She assumed the role of Volunteer Scheduler in 2013. Linda is a member of St. Peter's Church in Wellsboro.
Laurie Coffee (Administrative Facilitator) Laurie is originally from Chicago. She attended UVA and is a retired speech and language therapist. She and her husband, Joe, lived in Northern Virginia for 41 years before moving to Sugar Branch Lake full time in 2012 to be close their oldest son, Geoff, and his family. Son, David, and his family, live in Florida. Daughter, Bevin, lives in Ashville, North Carolina. Laure has been a Samaritan House volunteer since 2013 and is honored to be involved in the ministry. She and Joe are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year. Laurie is a member of Holy Child Church in Mansfield.
Angels on Earth Book Group
Please consider joining the book group on Monday, September 10th at Jan's home (18 Delmar Ridge.) Participants share a light snack and will discuss "The Book of Joy" by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. There is no need to read each book. Rather, come to enjoy the company of fellow volunteers! We welcome suggestion for future reading material. For more information, call Laurie Coffee (570) 549-2210 or Julie Stager (570) 376-2424.
To view Book Group selections, press the button below.
A number of improvements have been made inside and outside of the Samaritan House. These were made possible by a generous donation made in memory of Cindy Dalton. Renovations include the front sidewalk, steps and railings. The refrigerator and stove have been replaced, the kitchen painted, and a new sofa purchased. A photo of Cindy will be placed in the Samaritan House as a reminder of her generosity and dedication to the guests and their families.
Thank you to Mike Pietropola and Ray Miller for a fresh coat of paint in the kitchen, and to Gary Ranck for various house repairs. We are also grateful to Lori Ranck for her assistance in developing a volunteer spreadsheet.
All volunteers are reminded to respect the confidentiality of our guests and their families. Although volunteers are not bound by HIPPA, we limit the information we share because we respect the privacy of our guests. It is acceptable to request prayers for "our Samaritan House Guest" without mentioning the guest's name. Volunteers who are involved in a guest's care may may discuss that guest's status and needs with other volunteers involved in the guest's care. Questions from those not involved in guest care should be directed to the guest's family.
Alternate Ways to Serve
Help is needed in the following areas. For those who wish to volunteer in other important ways, please consider the following options:
Check and clean gutters annually.
Care of shrubbery and mulching around the house.
Remove sticks from lawn as needed.
Funding for TV service (second box for guest bedroom as well.)
Eight white bath towels, hand towels and washcloths are needed
Handyman for minor repairs and to check house as needed.
Current volunteers are asked to share these needs with family and friends who may be able to assist. Contact Linda Sampson (570) 404-2180 if are able to serve.
New Steering Committee Members
Anna Dunlap, Linda Sampson, Laurie Coffee (Facilitators)
Mel Rupert ( Facility Manager)
Coleen Evert, Michele Combs, Patty Kramer, Lillian Fox and Julie Stager
From the "Book of Joy"
"The two leaders had told us over the course of a week that there is no joy without sorrow, that in fact it is the pain, the suffering that allows us to experience and appreciate the joy. Indeed, the more we can turn toward suffering, our own and others, the more we can turn toward the joy. We accept them both, turning the volume of life up, or we turn our backs on life itself, becoming deaf to it's music. They had also told us and demonstrated that true joy is a way of being, not a fleeting emotion. What they had cultivated in their long lives was that enduring trail of joyfulness. They had warned us that we cannot pursue joy as an end in itself, or we will miss the bus. Joy comes, rather, from daily thoughts, feelings, and actions. They had told us repeatedly the action that gets us on the bus: bringing joy to others."
"The end of life raises profound questions for man: What will death be like? Will I be alone or surrounded by my loved ones? What awaits me after death? Will I be welcomed by God's mercy? To face these questions with gentleness and sensitivity -- this is the task of all who work with the dying. Death conceals even from the Christian the direct vision of what is to come, but the believer can trust in the Lord's promise: 'Because I live, you will live also.' (John 14:19)
~ John Paul II
The month of March is upon us, and so our thoughts turn from Winter to Spring, and to our Volunteer Potluck Dinner. This event is scheduled for Sunday, April 15th at 4:30pm at St. Peter's Parish Center. Dr. Edmund Guelig will speak about "The Four D's: Dementia, Depression, Delusion and Delirium.
Dinner will follow the presentation. Meat and beverages will be provided, and each volunteer is asked to bring a dish to share. All are welcome to bring a guest as well. Please RSVP via email or text (570)- 404-2180 no later than Monday, April 2nd. The Committee looks forward to seeing you there.
Need for New Volunteers
The present roster of Samaritan House volunteers includes over 100 names. Although this seems like a large number, many volunteers are retired. A number of these travel, or care for family members, and are not always available. Some volunteers work and have limited free time. The effort to recruit new volunteers is ongoing and vital to the work of Samaritan House. Please consider encouraging family members and friends to join our volunteers so that we may sustain this ministry.
Volunteer availability will be determined before each new guest is welcomed. Admission of future guests will depend upon how well a schedule can be filled and sustained. It has been a challenge to cover recent shifts, so there is a dire need to increase our number of volunteers, in particular those who are able to cover over night shifts.
Sincere gratitude to our volunteers for the compassion and dedication with which they serve our guests and their families. Many volunteers stretched their limits and took extra shifts to accommodate the schedule for our last guest. Your service and dedication are deeply appreciated.
The next Book Group gathering will take place on Monday, March 12th at 6:00pm at the home of Jan Bernethy (18 Delmar Ridge). *Please note the change in time and location. The book "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion" by Gregory Boyle, will be the topic of the March discussion. This book has inspired many, so we look forward to sharing an evening of enlightening discussion and friendship. Snacks to share are welcome!
The April Book Club selection is "Dying Well" by Ira Byock, MD. To purchase, visit our local bookstore "From My Shelf" or Amazon.com.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
Here's how it works: Anyone in the community who loves to knit or crochet can make a shawl. After a shawl is made, it can be kept somewhere in the Samaritan House to be shared with a guest. as the shawls are made, prayers are prayed for the one who will receive the shawl.
For more information about this beautiful ministry, please contact Jan Bernethy at 307-267-0677.
From "Tattoos on the Heart"
Once, after dealing with a particularly difficult homie (gang member) named Sharkey, I switch my strategy and decide to catch him in the act of doing the right thing. I can see I have been too harsh and exacting with him, and he is, after all, trying the best he can. I tell him how heroic he is, and how the courage he now exhibits in transforming his life far surpasses the hollow "bravery" of his barrio past. I tell him that he is a giant among men. I mean it. Sharkey seems to be thrown off balance by all this and silently stares at me. Then he says "Damn, G ... I'm gonna tattoo that on my heart."
Our common hospitality longs to find room for those who are left out. It's just who we are if allowed to foster something different, something more greatly resembling what God had in mind. Perhaps, together, we can teach others how to bear the beams of love, persons becoming persons, right before our eyes. Returned to ourselves.
Leon Dufour, a world-renowned Jesuit theologian and Scripture scholar, a year before he died at ninety-nine, confided in a Jesuit who was caring for him. "I have written so many books on God, but after all that, what do I really know? I think, in the end, God is the person you're talking to, the one right in front of you."
About the Author:
Gregory Boyle is a Jesuit priest and the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries. He makes approximately two hundred speaking appearances per year and has received numerous humanitarian awards, among them the California Peace Prize. He lives in Los Angeles.
From "Dying Well"
"The profoundly personal experience of dying ranges from agony to bliss; for most of us it will fall somewhere in between. Without adequate medical care, dying can be horrible. With skillful medical care and attention to the personal experience of the patient and the person's family, dying can be made bearable. When the human dimension of dying is nurtured, for many the transition from life can be as profound, intimate and precious as the miracle of birth."
About the Author:
Ira Byock, M.D., has specialized for the past eighteen years in caring for the dying, and is director of a Robert Wood Foundation national program to improve end-of-life care. Dr. Byock also served as president of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
"Our true home is the present moment; the miracle is not to walk on water.
The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment." Thich Nhat Hahn
Alternative Christmas Fair
The annual Alternative Christmas Fair will be held on Saturday, December 2nd, at the First Presbyterian Church in Wellsboro. Volunteers are needed for one or two hour shifts. This event raises funds for the Samaritan House and brings about community awareness of the Samaritan House ministry. New volunteers are welcome and encouraged to assist! Please call Lillian Fox (570-772-3792) for more information, or if you would like to volunteer an hour of your time on Dicken’s Day.
Construction on a new entrance to the Samaritan House will begin soon. The entryway will be at ground level on the back of the house, which will be especially helpful in during the winter months when the driveway can be hazardous. More information to be shared after the project begins.
The Samaritan House Book Group recently sponsored “The El Camino: An Evening with Jan Bernethy.” Jan is a Samaritan House volunteer who walked the El Camino de Santiage in Spain. She shared her spiritual journey, and unexpected moments of grace, as she made this pilgrimage. The event was enjoyed by all in attendance. Sincere thanks to Jan for sharing her story!
The Book Group usually meets on the first Monday of each month (unless the Parish Center is not available. (When this is the case, you will receive an email update.) Participants share a light snack. There is no need to read each book. Rather, all are welcome to come and enjoy the company of fellow volunteers. For more information call Laurie Coffee 570-549-2210 or Julie Stager 570-376-2424.
Please note the following dates and locations for upcoming meetings:
November Book Group Meeting: November 13th at 6:30pm.
“Extreme Measures” by Jessica Nutik Zitter, MD.
December Book Group Meeting: December 18th at 6:00pm at Jan Bernethy’s home.
Bring a light snack to share. Book selection will be determined at November meeting.
Welcome New Volunteers!
A warm welcome to several new volunteers: Marian Bowers, Jim & Barb Dinsmore, Stephanie Florence, Diane Franco, Beverly Hawkes, Lee Mentzer, Patricia Minnich, Julie Mitchell, Cora Roth, and Nancy Cobb.
Mark Your Calendars!
The next Volunteer Appreciation Event will be held on Sunday, April 15th, 2018 at St. Peter’s Parish Center. The theme will be “End of Life Planning”, a discussion about talking with family and health care providers about end-of-life matters.
The Samaritan House Steering Committee would like to thank Jackie Murphy for her many years of service as a committee member. Jackie recently resigned from this position, but will continue to serve as a volunteer and intake resource person.
Samaritan House Website
The Samaritan House website at http://www.samaritanhouseofwellsboro.com is a good way to educate family and friends about our end-of-life ministry, and to encourage others to consider becoming volunteers. Applications and Confidentiality Statements can be downloaded from the tab “Volunteer Information”. Consider sharing our website as a way of recruiting new volunteers!
“I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart,
I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains,
I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug or just a pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
Reviews for the Book Club Selection: “Extreme Measures” by Jessica Zitter, MD
"Like Atul Gawande's Being Mortal, Zitter's book shows how knowing when to do nothing is as vital to being a good doctor as knowing when do to everything."
--New York Times Book Review
"Required reading for every young medical student and every family member wondering how to help the people they love live well to the end."
—Ellen Goodman, founder of The Conversation Project
"A stunning portrait of the ways decisions in the intensive care unit shape the way we live—and die—now. Whether we live with illness, love someone who is facing these decisions, or care for them professionally, Dr. Zitter has written a call to action that none of us can ignore.”
—Anthony Back MD, author of Mastering Communication with Seriously Ill Patients: Balancing Honesty with Empathy and Hope
About the Author: Jessica Nutik Zitter, M.D., MPH, is an expert on the medical experience of death and dying. She attended Stanford University and Case Western Reserve Medical School, and completed her residency in internal medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She was a fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of California San Francisco.
Zitter is double-boarded in the two specialties of pulmonary/critical care medicine and palliative care medicine—a rare combination. She writes for The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Pacific Standard, The Atlantic, and Journal of Palliative Medicine, and is featured in Extremis, an Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary about end-of-life decision-making in an ICU.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
The Prayer Shawl Ministry meets once a month following the 8:30am Mass at St. Peter’s. The group gathers near the Blessed Sacrament.The members prayerfully knit and crochet shawls to be shared with the sick. For more information, or to request a shawl, contact Jan Bernethy at (307) 267-0677.
O Heavenly Father:
We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank Thee for friends and remember the friendless.
We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service.
That Thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.
- “Dear Abby” Columnist
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
Many volunteers and their guests enjoyed a delicious dinner and informative presentation at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner held in April. The event was a celebration of the ministry we all share at Samaritan House. Volunteers of various faiths and religious backgrounds came together with a common desire to serve the dying and their families. Members of the Prayer Shawl ministry displayed their beautiful handiwork, and spoke briefly about their service to our parish and community. The evening was enjoyed by all in attendance! Special thanks to Dr. Ed Guelig for his discussion on the criteria for hospice care.
The front entrance and sidewalk at the Samaritan House have been renovated, and plans are in place to construct a vestibule on the lower back side of the house. This area will be used as an entrance from the parking, and will include space for coats and boots. These renovations are possible due to generous donations made to the Samaritan House.
The Samaritan House Book Club has been meeting on a monthly basis since March of 2017.
Participants meet on the first Monday of each month at 6:30 pm in the Adult Education Room at the St. Peter’s Parish Center. Generally, about eight volunteers gather for these meetings, which is a good number for conversation and sharing. Several books have been discussed, including: An Army in Heaven and When Breath Becomes Air. The group is currently reading Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande. The discussions focus on the book of the month, although each conversation is rich with personal experiences, beliefs, and feelings about life and death.
Please consider joining the group on Monday, August 7th, or any first Monday of the month. Participants share a light snack and a little wine. There is no need to read each book. Rather, all are welcome to come and enjoy the company of fellow volunteers! For more information call Laurie Coffee 570-549-2210 or Julie Stager 570-376-2424.
An Opportunity to Serve
Several of our Samaritan House volunteers are active with Susquehanna Hospice as well. Those who may be interested in hospice work when we do not have a guest at the Samaritan House are welcome to contact Bob Coppadge (Hospice Volunteer Liaison for Susquehanna Health.) Bob would be happy to discuss cross training and opportunities to serve those in need of hospice care. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (570) 723-0760.
A Collection of Favorite Quotes from “Being Mortal”, by Atul Gawande.
“All we ask is to be allowed to remain the writers of our own story. That story is ever changing. Over the course of our lives, we may encounter unimaginable difficulties. Our concerns and desires may shift. But whatever happens, we want to retain the freedom to shape our lives in ways consistent with our character and loyalties. This is why the betrayals of body and mind that threaten to erase our character and memory remain among our most awful tortures. The battle of being mortal is the battle to maintain the integrity of one’s life—to avoid becoming so diminished or dissipated or subjugated that who you are becomes disconnected from who you were or who you want to be.”
“Whenever serious sickness or injury strikes and your body or mind breaks down, the vital questions are the same: What is your understanding of the situation and its potential outcomes? What are your fears and what are your hopes? What are the trade-offs you are willing to make and not willing to make? And what is the course of action that best serves this understanding?”
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
The season of Spring turns our thoughts toward the upcoming Volunteer Appreciation Dinner to be held on April 3oth at St. Peter’s Parish Center. The program will begin at 5pm with a presentation about the criteria for hospice, given by Dr. Ed Guelig. Dinner will follow the presentation, and door prizes will be awarded. Many of you plan to attend this event, which is a celebration of the ministry we share at Samaritan House. Last minute reservations can be made by calling (570) 404-2180 no later than Friday, April 14th.
Samaritan House has received national recognition through a recent article featured in the National Catholic Reporter! Click on the link below to read "Samaritan House is a 'spa for the dying', by Peter Feuerherd.
This recognition reflects the dedication and service of each one of you, and is shared with deepest appreciation.
A new washing machine has been installed in the basement. New emergency lighting has also been installed. It is designed to last for about two hours during an outage. The front door and kitchen will soon be painted, and a major outdoor renovation is being planned to create a safer entrance to the house.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
The Prayer Shawl Ministry will meet near the Blessed Sacrament on Sunday, April 30th, following the 8:30am Mass at St. Peter’s. Participants will prayerfully knit and crochet the shawls to be shared with the sick. For more information, or to request a shawl, contact Jan Bernethy at (307) 267-0677.
The Samaritan House Book Group gathered twice this year. Volunteers in attendance have enjoyed thoughtful discussions and sharing, and refreshments. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 8th at 6:30pm in the Adult Ed room at the Parish Center. The group will reflect on the book “When Breath Becomes Air”, by Paul Kalanithi.
Some books can be borrowed from the Samaritan House or the Green Free Library. To purchase, visit our local bookstore “From My Shelf”. http://www.wellsborobookstore.com/
Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled shift. This allows for time to read the log and to change/turn a guest if necessary.
“When Breath Becomes Air”, by Paul Kalanithi.
At the age of thirty six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation for a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally in to a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out in to a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in the profoundly moving memoir.
Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.
The National Catholic Reporter recently published an article about the Samaritan House. Click here to read "Samaritan House is a 'spa for the dying", by Peter Feuerherd.
Greetings to all as we embark on a New Year within our ministry! Our current guest has been with us for 9 full weeks and three holiday celebrations – not to mention her 92nd birthday! She and her family have blessed all who have served them. Many new volunteers have taken shifts and joined our volunteer family. Your dedication and commitment make this happen.
Over the last six months Samaritan house has been the recipient of generous donations from families whose loved ones were cared for by you, the volunteers. These funds help maintain the house and assist in payment of expenses on an ongoing basis.
Lillian Fox and Patty Perry represented the Samaritan House at the annual Alternative Christmas Fair, held at the Presbyterian Church on Dicken’s Day. Thank you to Lil and Patty for sharing their time and treasures at this meaningful event.
Mark Your Calendars
The Samaritan House committee is planning a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on Sunday, April 30th at 4:30pm at St. Peter’s Parish Center. Dr. Edmund Guelig will speak about the criteria for hospice care. Dinner will follow the presentation. Each volunteer is welcome to bring a guest. Please RSVP no later than April 10th. This will also be an opportunity to meet other volunteers. The Committee looks forward to your attendance.
A Note of Gratitude (from the daughter of a recent guest)
“As I take time to reflect this holiday season, many memories of my Dad flood my days. He loved Christmas – the songs, the presents, but most of all when we all came back home to Wellsboro.
Every memory of Dad is accompanied by true thankfulness that he was able to spend his last days in the community he loved and that wonderful volunteers were able to help my Mom. I cannot express the peace of mind that you all have brought to my family. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, full of God’s blessings joy and peace.”
The Samaritan House Committee extends a warm welcome to Jen Stephens, who will be
available to assist Linda with future schedules. Read a bit about Jen below.
Hello Volunteers, my name is Jen Stephens. Some of you may already
know me, but to those who do not, I would like to introduce myself. I live
in Wellsboro with my husband Jim and my two children Madeline & Charlie. Primarily I am a stay-at-home mom, but I also work part-time
at Cafe 1905 and I am the VP of the S&SMH Auxiliary.
I strongly believe in volunteerism and its benefit to our community. In
fact, a sense of community is impossible without volunteers. I am excited
to participate in the Samaritan House ministry and look forward to working with each of you. Warmest regards, Jen Stephens.
A Note from Linda
Although I correspond daily with all of you when we have a guest, there are many volunteers
whom I have never met!
Here is a bit about my history with Samaritan House: I was present
at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that formally opened the doors to
our ministry in 1999, and among the first group of volunteers to
serve a guest at the house. I spent a number of those early years
as a volunteer, and then took leave for a time.
I returned in the summer of 2013, and shortly after, was invited to
fill the position of scheduler. It is a true honor and privilege to
work with each of you, as well as the guests and families at
The committee wishes to thank Patty Kramer for her years of service as the Volunteer Scheduler. Patty continues to be an active volunteer and member of the Steering Committee.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
Here’s how it works: Anyone in the community who loves to knit or crochet can make a shawl. After a shawl is made, it can be kept somewhere in the Samaritan House to be shared with a guest. As the shawls are made, prayers are prayed for the one who will receive the shawl. For more information, please contact Jan Bernathy at 307-267-0677.
Greetings to all we enter November and the approaching holiday season! We are grateful to those who joined us for an evening of food and fellowship on October 30th. Many new volunteers attended this event and enjoyed camaraderie with members of our ministry. Thanks to those who prepared food, decorated tables, and arranged beautiful baskets for our raffles. Special thanks to Melissa Bravo for sharing her moving memoir with us!
Air conditioning/heating units have been installed at the house, as well as a new toilet and vanity in guest bathroom. We were able to complete this work with funds from two grants, as well as a generous donation in memory of a former volunteer, Marie Coll.
We hope to welcome a guest sometime soon, and perhaps share the holidays with a family in need of comfort and care. As always, our sincere thanks to each one of you for the gifts you freely share with the Samaritan House.
Our best wishes to all for a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving.
An Excerpt for "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp:
"Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks. Remembering frames up gratitude. Gratitude lays out the planks of trust. I can walk the planks - from known to unknown - and know: He holds.
Is that why the Israelite's kept recounting their past - to trust God to their future? Remembering is an act of thanksgiving, a way of thanksgiving, this turn of the heart over time's shoulder to see all the long way His arms have carried. Gratitude is not only the memories of our heart; gratitude is a memory of God's heart and to thank is to remember God.
This is the crux of Christianity: to remember and give thanks, eucharisteo.
Because remembering with thanks is what causes us to trust -- to really believe.”
Thank you, Lord, for autumn days, for grateful hearts, for psalms of praise.
Thank you, Lord, for food to share, for family times of faith and prayer.
Thank you, Lord, for all these things, and every joy Thanksgiving brings.
July was a full month at Samaritan House! A new guest arrived on July 7th and remained with us until July 26th. Many volunteers, both seasoned and new, ministered to Shirley and her family. A total of 93 shifts were covered during her stay, thanks to the commitment of so many!
A number of house renovations were completed at the end of July. A new (and higher) commode and a vanity were installed in the guest bathroom, as well as a new baseboard. A new blind will also be mounted in the near future. These additions make the house more attractive and welcoming.
Julie Stager will lead an ‘ad hoc’ committee which will include Laurie Coffee and Kathy Schnell. This team will work on an ongoing basis to recruit new volunteers and raise public awareness about our ministry.
As an extension of the volunteer drive, Samaritan House had a display at the 2016 Senior Expo on August 5th, hosted by Matt Baker. The booth was manned by Mel Rupert and Susanne Lamphier. Turn out for the event was huge and many people stopped to chat and ask questions about the ministry. A few took applications. Many compliments were expressed about the work done through Samaritan House. Assuming we participate next, Susanne and Mel have many ideas to improve our presentation.
New testimonies have been added to our Samaritan House website. We continue to welcome and encourage others to share their experiences as volunteers or family members. Our new website can be reached at: www.samaritanhouseofwellsboro.com.
We plan to gather all volunteers for a potluck dinner sometime this Fall. Watch upcoming emails/newsletters for a date and details. We look forward to seeing everyone soon!
“Life is a pilgrimage. We are on the march, and sooner or later we shall reach our destination. That destination we call heaven. There we shall see God as He is, and that experience will be the cause of a happiness which will be complete and have no end. We are made for that.”
Cardinal Basil Hume, “To Be A Pilgrim”