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Memory Lane
Van Buren First Assembly of God's Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit is considered the finest Alzheimer's facility in Arkansas and one of the best in the nation.

Many Assemblies of God churches care for the needy through food pantries, clothing banks, holiday meals and similar compassion ministries. But Van Buren (Arkansas) First Assembly of God may be the very first AG church to not only offer a retirement center for seniors, but now a fully-staffed care unit for individuals who have Alzheimer's or dementia.

The new $5 million, 34,000 square-foot Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit, dedicated on November 13, was recently completed through the donation of a gift of $5 million given anonymously last November. The care unit is an addition to the already existing 60,000-square-foot Legacy Heights Retirement Center.

Senior Pastor Bobby Johnson, who has been ministering at the 1,100-member church for the past 34 years, says that in 2007 the church opened the Legacy Heights Retirement Center, offering 55 units for retirees.

Having converted a wing of the center into an Alzheimer's care unit in 2009, Johnson says at first the church struggled as the economy crash at that time took its toll. "But three years ago, a foundation offered us a $1 million grant, if we could match it," Johnson says. "We matched almost all of it and that helped us recover."

Memory Lane pictures
Much of the decor in Memory Lanes is designed to help those with Alzheimer's use their memories.

Apparently liking what Johnson and Van Buren First Assembly were doing, the same foundation came back to them this past November and offered the grant money to build a state-of-the-art Alzheimer's care facility.

AG General Treasurer Doug Clay spoke at the dedication of the new unit. "Thank you for being a wonderful and biblical example of excellence in ministry to our seniors," Clay said. "There is nothing quite like this . . . praise the Lord!"

When the new facility, which is expected to open by mid-December, is at capacity (40 patients), it will have a staff of 50 to 60 people, including nurses and other professional staff who will provide 24-hour care in private rooms. The facility is also licensed by the state.

"Memory Lane is divided into two mirroring pods of 16,000-square-feet each," Johnson says. "They each have 20 rooms and include a dining room, activities room, a beauty salon, whirlpool, an outdoor walking track within the confines of each pod, and between the pods is a safe room for residents of Legacy Heights and Memory Lane."

Clay observed that one out of eight Americans are now age 65 or older, with more than 5,500 Americans turning 65 every day. "As the percentage of older people in the population increases, problems, attitudes, responsibilities, and care related to the aging become matters of increasing concern," Clay said.

Pastor Bobby Johnson
Pastor Bobby Johnson

Johnson agrees with Clay's assessment. "Statistics say 1 out of 2 people who are 85 will contract this disease — a disease where there are no survivors."

According to what state officials have already communicated to Johnson, the new Alzheimer's facility is the best in the state and is one of the best in the nation.

"The difference is, this facility was built strictly for Alzheimer's patients — it's not an older building converted to house Alzheimer's patients," Johnson explains. "For example, our large outdoor walking track is secure, pictures and decorations are from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, which will help with memory, and each patient's door will have pictures of their family members on it."

What's more, Johnson says, those residents living at Legacy Heights and the patients soon to be a part of Memory Lane will continue to have the opportunities to hear the gospel message, through visitation of retired AG ministers and live-streaming of all church services.

And perhaps Clay summed the church's efforts up best when he said during the dedication, "Thank you for addressing this concern with care, quality and excellence."

For more information about Legacy Heights or Memory Lane, contact Van Buren First AG at info@vbfirst.com.

 

 


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William Menzies passes

Tue, 16 Aug 2011 - 4:24 PM CST

William Menzies
Menzies

Dr. William (Bill) W. Menzies - Assemblies of God pastor, educator, missionary and author -- went to be with the Lord shortly past noon on August 15, 2011.

Born on July 1, 1931, Menzies earned a B.A. at Central Bible College (Springfield, Missouri) and a M.A. at Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois), where he met and married Doris Dresselhaus in 1955. He was ordained in 1956. Menzies held teaching and administrative positions at Central Bible College, Evangel University (Springfield, Missouri), the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (Springfield, Missouri), California Theological Seminary (Fresno, California) and Asia Pacific Theological Seminary (Baguio City, Philippines).

Menzies completed his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. His dissertation became the benchmark history of the Assemblies of God, Anointed to Serve (GPH, 1971). He was a prolific author, authoring or editing standard textbooks such as Understanding the Times of Christ (GPH, 1969), Bible Doctrines: A Pentecostal Perspective (GPH, 1993) and Spirit and Power (Zondervan, 2000).  

Menzies is widely known in Pentecostal and evangelical circles as a statesman, building bridges across denominational and racial divides. He was one of the organizers of the Society for Pentecostal Studies and was the first editor of the society's journal, Pneuma. He was also one of the editors for the Full Life Study Bible and a consulting editor for Christianity Today.

"Dr. Menzies has influenced generations of students," states Dr. George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. "His textbook, Anointed to Serve, told the history of the Assemblies of God in a way that informed and inspired. He led an exemplary Christian life, and was a model of Pentecostal scholarship and the Spirit-filled life. He always inspired me to do my best to serve the Lord with heart, mind, soul and strength. We have lost a pillar of the Faith and heaven has gained a saint whose rest is won."

Menzies' two sons, Glen and Robert, went on to earn their doctoral degrees and have become respected educators in the Assemblies of God. Menzies' wife of 55 years, Doris, passed away on May 28, 2011. Menzies is survived by two sons and two daughter-in-laws, Dr. Glen and Donna Menzies of Minnetonka, Minnesota; and Dr. Robert and Joanne Menzies, of Kunming, China; and four grandchildren.

In place of flowers, it has been requested that memorials be sent to either North Central University, 910 Elliot Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55404, or to the China Training Network, 2087 S. Celebration, Springfield, MO 65809. Visitation will be on Friday, August 19, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Greenlawn North in Springfield. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 20, at Central Assembly of God, 1301 N. Boonville, Springfield.

The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center has recently posted a few messages by Dr. Menzies on AGTV. To listen to and/or view the postings, click here.

 

 

 


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