With a full time chaplain and newly renovated Chapel on campus, the residents of Fair Haven do not have to go far to remain spiritually connected.
Americans have long believed that religion can play a role in a person’s health and well-being, and there is plenty of research showing that being spiritually connected can actually improve one’s health (see faithandhealthconnection.org). As a community of Methodist Homes of Alabama & Northwest Florida, Fair Haven goes beyond recognizing the connection between faith and health to providing deliberate opportunities for people to worship.
Every Sunday, Fair Haven’s Chaplain Rev. David Commer oversees a morning and an evening worship service for residents. Though a retirement community with a Methodist heritage, people of all faiths and walks of life are welcome at Fair Haven. A denominational variety of pastors sometimes fill the Sunday pulpit, and regularly rotate leading Wednesday morning chapel services.
Having been a pastor in the Birmingham area since 1997, David already has long-time relationships with a number of residents living at Fair Haven. But it’s not typically pastors who keep connected with church members living in retirement communities. More often than not, David observed, it’s their church friends and the United Methodist Women groups, visiting church choirs and others like that who help residents remain connected to their local church.
Another aspect of his job as chaplain, David explains, is to wake people up so that they don’t get spiritually lethargic. “I remind them that no matter what age or stage of life they may be in, they don’t get to say, ‘been there, done that, put in my time,’ and check out spiritually.” David makes himself available for one-on-one visits to residents for consultation or prayer, and to be with those facing the end life and are preparing for their “celestial departure.”
For those residents who are unable to travel to The Good Shepherd Chapel at Fair Haven for worship services, David grabs his guitar and takes the Bible studies and hymn singings to them each week. David finds that some people who have difficulty verbally expressing themselves discover their voice in the hymns and can often sing the songs with him word for word.
But the most surprising spiritual aspect of the Fair Haven community, David said, is how many people come to the Chapel for various reasons during a normal day. “Sometimes it’s residents and sometimes it’s staff members. People feel safe here,” said David. “It’s not unusual to see five or six people in a day who come in to spend five or ten minutes in the Chapel by themselves.”
For more information about life at Fair Haven, including details on our how to make Fair Haven your or your loved one’s new home, contact our admissions team at 205-956-4150, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.