Longtime Presbyterian finds new ways of serving after retiring as a cardiologist
April 4, 2016
As he approached 65, Mike Payne wanted his life still to make a difference in retirement. For three decades as a cardiologist he had helped people. He loved his work.
Helping people after he retired would require intentionality, he realized. In Pilgrimage into the Last Third of Life, Jane Thilbault and Richard Morgan describe healthy aging in terms of sacred journeys undertaken by spiritually brave pilgrims. “[T]he experience of the Last Third of life, whether we are hale or frail, gain meaning and even joy when we see them though the eyes of God.”
Such an orientation is nothing new to Payne, a longtime member of St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina. He grew up on a Danville, Kentucky, farm and learned about stamina and the value of hard work and family. His mother taught him to bring a can of food to church every Sunday. Life is about giving back, she counseled. Payne took these lessons to heart.
“I knew I would miss the feeling of serving other people after retirement,” Payne said, which is why he’s volunteering at the Greenville Free Clinic and adding a men’s Bible study to his schedule. But his most demanding contribution in retirement, besides playing a smidgeon more golf, is his work as a trustee on the board of Thornwell Children’s Home in nearby Clinton, South Carolina. Thornwell began as an orphanage after the Civil War and now provides residential care and family programs throughout Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
“Michael Payne has brought energy and enthusiasm,” said President Elliot Smith. One of Payne’s jobs is working closely with the coordinator of Thornwell’s LushAcres Farm, which raises chickens and turkeys. Kids on the campus learn about agriculture, healthy eating and community responsibility.
Life is about giving back. Even in retirement.
Matt Matthews, pastor, St. Giles Presbyterian Church
Let us join in prayer for:
Rev. Gordon Raynal, Presbytery Pastor/Stated Clerk
Rev. Debbie Foster, Associate Presbytery Pastor/Associate Stated Clerk
Ms. Donna Templeton, Youth/Young Adult Coordinator
Mr. Bill Sibley, Treasurer
Mr. Warren Templeton, Office Administrator/Bookkeeper
Mrs. LeAnne White, Administrative Assistant
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
O God of our life, through all the circling years, you make every day new. Renew us with your blessings, that we may be blessings in the world, which you love and have redeemed. Amen.