Just because it’s called Lutheran Community Home doesn’t mean all of its residents are of that denomination.
Being a Lutheran has never been a requirement since the Seymour senior living facility was founded in 1968.
Employees and board members have always had an idea that there are more than just Lutherans living on the campus. But they didn’t track it until creating a database in the middle of 2013.
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While the number of Lutheran residents was between 30 and 40 throughout 2014, there were more than 20 other denominations represented.
“Seeing the numbers was a little bit of an eye-opener because we just never put it into a tangible form,” said Paul Neuman, pastoral care coordinator at Lutheran Community Home. “But talking with the different residents, I knew we had a pretty diverse bunch of people.”
Joe Joiner, who has been on the Lutheran Community Home board since 1987, said he hadn’t heard of some of the denominations.
“We probably have more diversity than we ever, ever had,” he said. “I think it’s great that we’re able to reach out to the community and serve anybody that needs this type of care.”
The number of residents on the campus, which includes long-term care, assisted living and independent living, is around 185.
But tracking denominations only includes skilled nursing residents that receive long-term care.
“I think we’ve had a general idea that we’re probably about 50 percent Lutheran give or take but just never had the actual detail to show that breakdown,” said Anita Carter, controller at Lutheran Community Home “To have that data is great.”
Having that diversity is a good thing, Neuman said.
“I think a lot of it deals with being God’s people,” he said. “Sometimes, we get too tied up with the separation of (religions), which there are differences and there are reasons for those differences, and I understand that. But there’s also that unity that God brings us together.”
In becoming a pastor in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Neuman said he studied different denominations. He has been the pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Leesville since 1984.
“Being a pastor in the Missouri Synod, I’m always going to come from that perspective. However, I’m not here to thrust anything upon anyone,” he said. “Being aware of where they are at and knowing the different places from which they come with their faith, you’re sensitive to that. It’s helpful to know where they’re at.”
Neuman said he has compiled contact information for some local churches that residents have listed on their application. Any of the facility’s employees have access to that.
“Having that information to be able to meet the needs of the residents in their spiritual care, that’s a primary goal,” he said. “If something is happening dramatically with one of the residents, we can get that pastoral care to them that they need. One of the things we want to do is make sure, as much as we can, that people stay connected with their home congregation.”
Most of Neuman’s work at Lutheran Community Home involves leading group services. That includes three Bible studies per week in different areas of the facility and devotions around meal time.
Neuman and some other area Lutheran pastors lead the 2 p.m. service on Sundays in the facility’s chapel, which recently was renovated to go from holding 35 people to nearly 90. Also, during Advent and Lent, there are Wednesday afternoon services.
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Lutheran Community Home is at 111 W. Church Ave. in Seymour.
For information, call 812-522-5927 or visit lutherancommhome.org.
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Lutheran Community Home’s denomination totals, as of December 2014
Disciples of Christ;3
Twelve other religions each had one person represented.
There also were four people who checked “nondenominational” on their application and four others who checked “none.”