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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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Boards of Directors of three residential schools plan governance matters

Wed, 30 May 2012 - 2:37 PM CST

The Boards of Directors for the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), Central Bible College (CBC) and Evangel University (EU) met Friday, May 25, to consider governance planning for the consolidated university. These plans will be included in the application, which will go next month to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

MISSION STATEMENT

The board approved the submission of a mission statement formulated as a result of an 18-month process, working with various committees and faculties of the three schools - the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Central Bible College, and Evangel University. The adopted mission statement is: "Evangel University is a comprehensive Christian University committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to become Spirit-empowered servants of God who impact the church and society globally."

The core values of Truth, Worship, Discipleship, Evangelism and Compassion were included with the mission statement.

PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH PROCESS

The three boards also approved a presidential opportunity profile, which will guide the presidential search process. There will be a search for the university president and a separate search for the president of AGTS, who will also serve as a vice president of the university.

The Presidential Search Committee will be inclusive of all major publics of the 3 schools (i.e. Board, faculty, alumni, student body, donors, faculty and staff). The Dingman Company, Inc., of Westlake Village, California, will serve as consultants for the university presidential search process.

The boards approved this plan to be included in the application, which now goes to the HLC.

TRANSITION OF CURRENT PRESIDENTS

AGTS - Dr. Byron Klaus was commended for his years of stellar leadership as president of AGTS. Dr. Klaus has expressed his willingness to be a candidate for consideration for that same position by the Presidential Search Committee.

CBC - The Board of Directors of Central Bible College has requested to take the 2012-13 academic year to honor the life and service of Dr. Gary Denbow. They also are being asked to establish the CBC Foundation, which will secure the school's assets and provide financial support to students in ministerial training. It is also recommended to the CBC Board that Denbow be elected to serve as president of the CBC Foundation.

EU - Prior to consolidation planning, Dr. Robert Spence had announced his intentions to retire in the spring of 2014. In keeping with that decision, it has been recommended to the Evangel Board of Directors that they plan celebratory events during the 2012-13 school year to honor the 40 years of outstanding leadership and legacy of Spence. It was further planned that a sabbatical program be offered to Dr. and Mrs. Spence during the first year of consolidation (2013) in which he also will counsel the president-elect of the consolidated university.

At the inauguration of the president-elect in the fall of 2014, Dr. Spence will be inaugurated as chancellor of the Evangel University.

The three boards of directors approved the above plan to become part of the application, which will go to HLC next month.

For more information on the consolidation of the three residential AG schools, click here.

Authors: AG News

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