Ministry to Our Senior Methodists

North Alabama United Methodists honor our elder United Methodists with one of the most generous pension and insurance programs in the country, our extensive Superannuate Homes Program provides housing for retired Elders and spouses, and the Reverend Don Neal’s office provides extensive supportive services for our retired clergy.

Most notable of all, The United Methodist Retirement Homes of Alabama and Northwest Florida is a national leader in ministry to the elderly.

In November the Rev. Wray Tomlin, the Executive Director Emeritus for The United Methodist Retirement Homes, will retire after more than 30 years of service among us.

Ray came to Birmingham from the Tennessee Conference in 1978 to lead our Methodist Homes for the aging in its ministry of meeting “the needs of God’s Older Children by providing a retirement community environment of abundant life, combined with the care of qualified professionals.” At the time of his arrival the United Methodists had two homes. Today, under Ray’s leadership, we have 13 facilities for elder care under the Methodist Homes for the Aging organization. There are more than 1600 residents and more than 800 employees that offer 6 care levels from “independent cottage living” to assisted living, to skill nursing care to Alzheimer care units.

Our goal has been to provide a safe, secure environment whereby our seniors can continue to make significant contributions to our church and Ray has helped us to achieve that goal.

A number of years back Rev. Tomlin put together the “Fountain of Love” program and began to ask churches and individuals to assist in enabling some of the Homes for The Aging residents who with loving care were outliving the financial resources they had saved for retirement. Today the “Fountain of Love” program continues to help many residents stay in one of our United Methodist Homes long after most or all of their financial resources are depleted or gone.

Although Ray officially retires this fall, I have no doubt that he will continue to be concerned for this marvelous program he has helped create and has guided so wisely. Likewise, his example and dedication to the ministry of caring for God’s Older Children will be an example for the church for many years to come

Well done Wray! You have made us a nationally recognized leader in ministry to seniors. It’s our way of honoring our past by preparing for the future care of our honored elders.

Will Willimon
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