A Servant for Seniors
Reverend Jack Womack of Hope Community UMC, La Porte will be quick to say that eldercare is kingdom work -- which makes serving as the new board chair of Methodist Retirement Communities a welcome calling -- with earthly and heavenly benefits. “I love the mission of serving senior adults in all walks, particularly those who may be less fortunate, downtrodden or overlooked,” he says. Inspired by his own family’s experiences, he has personally realized the need for raising awareness and advocacy for seniors.
Notes Jack, “My parents, when living, were a part of a ministry from First UMC, Houston, that took video copies of the sermons to residents at Happy Harbor nursing home in La Porte. Later I was involved with the Harbor in various ways, but in 2002 during my first job in full-time Christian Ministry, the year before my first appointment as a pastor, I began preaching at a service at the nursing home almost every Sunday. “
After he became the associate pastor at First UMC, La Porte, he continued that ministry and was soon invited to be on the Happy Harbor advisory board. “When my mother became ill and needed a place to rehab, we chose to take her there, where we witnessed first hand the mission of Methodist Retirement Communities” adds Jack. “Later my wife and I placed my father-in-law there, as well.” Remaining on the board for the existing HUD apartments in La Porte kept me in contact with the MRC leadership and over time I was invited to serve on the MRC board.”
View from the Top
In his new role as chair, he expects an aspect of vision casting and connection with the community. “The United Methodist Church is all about connection,” he adds. “I would have little or no relationship with many of these fine leaders without the connection of both the conference and the MRC organization. Networking is always valuable, the more folk in the network, the more value the network has.”
He is able to leverage his time through technology shortcuts such as teleconferencing but he has had these quarterly meetings in his schedule for many years. “There is always a component of leadership that requires being in charge without dominating,” he says. “I look forward to working closely with the CEO to discuss plans and encourage the organization to keep moving forward.”
Leadership Rewards – Past and Future
“In this role I get to work with some of the finest lay and clergy leaders in our conference, and see the ways in which our participation changes lives. Seeing the ways in which our MRC team approaches problems, manages finances and so forth helps me to see the bigger picture which helps me in my pastoral work,” notes Jack. “Ideas for better financial management are frequently applicable to the church I serve and to my own financial planning as well.”
Jack is proud to serve an organization with a Christian heritage dating back to 1962 that has grown to offer services to over 1,500 residents in 10 communities across six Texas cities, and is ranked among the top 100 systems in the country.
“Those of us serving on the board are challenged to support and encourage the operational team. It is an honor to be elected as chair, but thankfully we have great folk as finance chair, trustee chair, governance chair and vice chair to make the team strong.”