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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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The Assemblies of God (U.S.A.) Celebrates 24 Years of Growth; World Growth Tops 67.5 Million

Mon, 16 Jun 2014 - 4:12 PM CST

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As the Assemblies of God (AG) emerges from its first 100 years, it's evident the Movement is closer than ever to the founders' vision of achieving "the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen." The AG has now experienced 24 consecutive years of growth in the U.S.A., according to new stats from AG National Leadership & Resource Center in Springfield, Missouri. This news comes amid recent reports showing declining attendance for many other North American evangelical denominations, with a significant decrease among the Millennial set.

The story is different for the U.S. Assemblies of God. Today the AG has 12,792 churches, more than at any other time in AG history. The priority given to planting new churches has expanded the Movement into an unprecedented number of communities. Over the past four years, 1,408 AG churches have been planted, creating a ripple effect across the globe. The impact is especially evident among Latino adherents, who now make up 20 percent of the Fellowship (more than 40 percent of total adherents are ethnic minorities), and Millennials (ages 18-34), who contributed 21 percent of the growth from 2001-2013.

New vital statistics released by the AG this week detail the multiple areas of growth from 2012 to 2013. The largest gain was made among water baptisms, which rose 4.3 percent. Other notable statistics include the following:

- Adherents increased 1.0 percent to 3,127,857

- Membership increased 1.4 percent to 1,805,381

- Major worship service attendance grew 2.0 percent to 1,918,686

- Water baptisms rose 4.3 percent to 137,375

- Spirit baptisms grew 2.9 percent to 83,731

- Conversions increased 0.6 percent to 456,395

- Credentialed ministers grew 1.6 percent to 36,434

Worldwide, the AG grew 1.7 percent to 67,512,302 adherents. There are now 384,205 ministers and 366,105 churches and preaching points. 

Dr. George O. Wood, general superintendent of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, says the growth signals health of the Movement, but the scope of the need remains critical. "I am grateful to the Lord that the Assemblies of God continues to experience growth both nationally and worldwide," he said. "In the U.S.A., we have now enjoyed 24 straight years of growth. The net growth of the Assemblies of God worldwide would fill over 11 stadiums, each seating 100,000. Truly, the Holy Spirit is at work in our day. 

"At the same time, we humbly recognize that there are multiplied millions that have never had an adequate presentation of the gospel or a local church in their community," Wood says. "Thus, in this our 100th year, we must redouble our efforts to bear witness, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to reach all the world with the gospel."

To see additional statistics about the Assemblies of God, click here.

Authors: AG News

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