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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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AG National Leadership and Resource Center restructuring to better resource churches, reach new generation

Thu, 12 Apr 2012 - 3:41 PM CST

The Assemblies of God National Leadership and Resource Center in Springfield, Missouri, today announced a staff right-sizing as part of a strategic restructuring of its organization, including an ongoing transition from print to digital resources to more efficiently and effectively serve its churches and ministry partners. This process resulted in position eliminations and lay-offs affecting 47 employees at the national office.

"Knowing this difficult, but prayerful decision is the best course to build a foundation in support of the future viability of our worldwide fellowship does not dampen the difficulty of informing these valued employees, who have served the ministry well for many years," said Dr. George O. Wood, Assemblies of God general superintendent.

"We have always valued, and will continue to cherish the contributions of all our staff," Wood added. "This was a necessary business decision affected by culture and technology of which we have been aware for months, and hoped would turn around. But we are overstaffed and equipped in some areas, and this is a necessary step to reallocate resources for the continued positive health and growth of our mission and ministry services."

"The new structure will better support the efficient operations of the overall organization while facilitating the most effective process of each layer within the ministry working cohesively together. This is part of the vision of the National Leadership and Resource Center to become the premier and predominant resource provider serving the Assemblies of God and the Pentecostal and Charismatic world; while also reaching into the Evangelical community," Wood added.

The Springfield-based Assemblies of God National Leadership and Resource Center employs 830 individuals. The majority of eliminated positions are in the printing department, as the organization shifts from production to programming made necessary by recent industry and technological shifts from the Gutenberg to the Google eras.

"The Executive Leadership Team of the Assemblies of God is constantly looking for ways to be good stewards of the resources and opportunities God has given us," said Sol Arledge Jr., Assemblies of God COO. "This includes a shift in business priorities and services to expand the reach of our resources through electronic means as society is moving away from 'tree books' to e-books."

Recognized as a leader in the publishing field specifically for its Influence Resources and My Healthy Church, this reorganization will allow for continued growth and new positions as advancing technology shapes all aspects of society. With more than 39 percent of the Assemblies of God membership 25 years old and younger, leadership believes this will enable its churches to more effectively reach this growing demographic. This also includes greater emphasis on partnership with other Pentecostal denominations.

"The Assemblies of God is committed to ensuring all employees affected by this restructuring are treated fairly and equitably throughout their transition. This includes a severance package commensurate with years of service, two-month extended insurance coverage, pastoral care and outplacement support," Arledge emphasized.

The Assemblies of God is the world's largest Pentecostal denomination with more than 64 million members worldwide. The Church was organized in 1914 at a convention in Hot Springs, Arkansas, with 300 in attendance. Today, the Assemblies of God is the fastest growing major denomination in the United States with 12,595 churches and over 3 million members and adherents.

Authors: AG News

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