Marion Bossard, a member of The Christian Caring Ministry of Salem United Methodist Church at 4145 Forest Inn Road, Aquashicola, was curious about the history of the organization.
She learned that Mrs. Samuel Heiney had organized the group. Mrs. Heiney graciously shared with Marion that The Christian Caring Ministry of the Salem UMC began in the fall of 1993. But the seed was planted in the fall of 1992. The Rev. Ed Bean invited Julianne Heiney and Dori Oswald to attend a seminar held at the Myerstown Seminary. The featured speaker was the Rev. Kenneth Haugk, pastor, grief counselor and author of many books on Christian Caring. Both Dori and Julianne were quite impressed with what they had learned from Rev. Haugk that day, but weren't sure how they would use this newly acquired information.
In the spring of 1993, a hospital visitation course was offered by the Moravian Seminary Lay Academy in conjunction with the Palmerton Hospital. Both Dori and Julianne eagerly signed up for this course. Hospital chaplain, Bertha Hironimus, offered in-depth training which included hands-on experience.
After these two learning experiences, Dori and Julianne approached Pastor Bean with their idea of offering a 12-week Christian Caring seminar to the congregation at Salem UMC. Pastor Bean gave his encouraging approval for this project.
The resources for this seminar included teachings from Kenneth Haugk, books written by Howard Stone and Bill Hybels, along with information presented by Bertha Hironimus. This seminar was well-received by the congregation and several attended all twelve sessions.
At the end of the 12 weeks, the seminar participants were asked if they wanted to continue to meet monthly with the purpose of having devotions, praying for those in need and sending cards to express their Christian concern. The group gladly agreed to proceed with that plan. Julianne Heiney led the group for several years until others took over the leadership position.
Currently, Janet Lerow holds that position, with Victoria Shupp, Charles and Florence Silliman and Marion Bossard serving on the committee.
Thanks to Julianne Heiney, the Christian Caring Ministry, which she organized and led, has been serving Salem, its members and friends well for the past 17 years.
The group meets the first Thursday afternoon of each month at 2 p.m. in the church. Members take turns supplying and serving refreshments.