(April 1, 1921 - March 22, 2001) *

I do what I do because I love it, and I do it not because I can, but because I care. I’ve been so active in the UCC for so long. I think it would be hard for me not to care.

Around the world and within our communities, in our churches and in our homes, caring is not just an emotion, but an action. From the moment we are baptized, we are baptized not just into a community of God, but a community of caring and needy people. We say a “cloud of witnesses” surrounds us: Those who’ve gone before us, are with us now, and are yet to come. It is this cloud of witnesses who inspire and challenge us to run the race that is set before us.

Grandmothers like me usually have a lot to do just taking care of ourselves. I’m also the taxi for my grandkids, I play in my church’s bell choir and I even have adopted a few “bonus” sons around the country along the way. As a pastor’s wife, I was as busy with the church as was my husband at times. I saw how much support my husband needed himself in order to support others. Everyone in the church needs care — including the pastors.

I became a Stephens Minister to help care for others, and in this role I receive care as well. This, as in other lay ministry programs, takes time. We covenant to commit at least four hours each month studying ways to help people so we can be well prepared for the time we’ve committed to visiting with those in need. A lot of people don’t know what to say, or are afraid of saying the wrong things when they meet someone who’s grieving or healing.

I learned how listening can express my compassion. Since becoming involved in this ministry, I notice how few people really listen to others. When I need help, it’s there for me as well. A well-designed, caring ministry will assure that we also take time to nurture ourselves. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Healer heal thyself?” We try to do just that.

The amazing thing about my church is that when we are intentional about the ways we care for one another, our reaching out can also draw us inward. Christian service can be a spiritual discipline. Like baptism, it too can be an “outward sign of an inward grace.”

“We know love by this, that Christ laid down his life for us — and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” – I John 3: 16.

I love what I do. It’s such a gift to meet so many people and see how we all can help each other. So many different hearts just need the same thing: To care and to be cared for.

*Libby passed away unexpectedly and only days after being interviewed and photographed. Her laughter, her warmth, her willingness to try new things will live forever.

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