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“While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.” —Luke 24:51

Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study

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Wednesday, October 21

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Presbytery of Newton

New Jersey

Ginny and Jeff Fisher enjoying social time with others at the memory cafe Courtesy of Ginny Fisher


Ginny and Jeff Fisher enjoying social time with others at the memory cafe


Courtesy of Ginny Fisher


According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with this degenerative brain disease. Patients and caregivers can often feel alone and helpless as they adjust to a new way of life.

After a family member was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I began looking for resources. I kept reading about memory cafes and thought it sounded like a wonderful idea. Memory cafes provide social opportunities for persons with mild to moderate dementia or Alzheimer’s disease as well as those who care for them. It is a place free of the judgment that so often comes with the possibility of awkward conversation or behavior.

I was disappointed to find out that the nearest memory cafe was 40 miles away. After much prayer, I approached Scott Blythe and Liz Johnson-Blythe, pastors of Presbyterian Church of Morris Plains, about starting a memory cafe there. With their support, and help from ruling elder Caroline Grossman, the church’s nurturing ministry, and the Presbytery of Newton’s New Thing Grant, we held the first memory cafe in September 2013.

Since then 10 families have been touched by this ministry, whose reach continues to expand. For one afternoon a month, our loved ones can feel comfortable, and caregivers can relax and network with others in a safe place. Our hope is that another faith community in the area will host an additional afternoon gathering on a different day of the month.

The Presbytery of Newton is home to 59 congregations and one new worshiping community.

—Ginny Fisher, cochair of the memory cafe, Presbyterian Church of Morris Plains

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Jeanne Radak, presbytery leader
Rev. Diane Curtis, stated clerk
Sonja Gaertner, office manager
Liz Hutchinson, financial manager
Rev. Stephanie Muntzel, resource and media coordinator

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Paula Sandusky, PMA
Linda Santana, PMA
Marisol Santiago, BOP

Let us pray

Dear Lord, be present to all those living with memory loss. Strengthen those who accompany a loved one on this long journey. Give us compassion, courage, and understanding as we reach out to families affected by memory loss. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 65; 147:1-11
First Reading Lamentations 2:8-15
Or alternate First Reading Jeremiah 41:4-18
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 15:51-58
Gospel Reading Matthew 12:1-14
Evening Psalms 125; 91

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