Setting Up the Meeting Place
The meeting at Fair View, which, for the most part, is in a constant state of movement, was today very trying. I think that they are still trying to get used to including SL2S on the schedule. Today, as I held the meeting, a group of men, construction workers, proceeded to set up a very long new buffet table on one side of the meeting room! At the back of the room, some folk were celebrating one resident’s birthday! At the front, I took about 15 people through a half hour of singing, reading Scripture, and a very short lesson. I love that place. I must continue to reach out to these hurting people and do what I can to get things working better.
Now, I am aware that every single meeting that takes place in every home for the old folk is unique. Every place I go, the set up is different: One in a quiet dining room; one in a noisy dining room where the staff is clearing the tables; one around four tables pushed together in a dining room; one in a long row; one with two or three rows; some with a piano; some without. This is not to mention the fact that some places have a microphone system and some do not.
Another difference is the presence of staff. At one of my meetings, there are sometimes five workers helping out with turning pages and making sure people don't fall out of their chairs. At others, there are no staff members present.
And so it goes.
There are some pointers, however, that are worth noting. You may already have them in practice. And...you may have some great pointers yourself! We ask for you to share them here! Your Input.
- Especially at nursing homes, it is helpful if the people sit at tables so that they can put the songbook down and not have to hold it.
- Whatever the setup, it should be done so that whoever is speaking or singing can see the faces of each person. (Be sure to move around so that no one is lost behind another person!)
- Sometimes I get a choice: I always choose a room with a piano.
- People want to sit with their friends. I changed the whole structure of one meeting place to eliminate cliques. Wow! Even in their 80s and 90s, ladies still lean toward cliques and other ladies are hurt!
- If you are given a couple of options by the administration about where to meet, take the one that you know is best. At one point, when we had about 30 per meeting, we were moved to a tiny room on the 3rd floor! It had a piano about the size of a computer keyboard! After weighing the situation, I did make a special visit to the administrator, and very calmly and congenially, gave the reasons why we needed to be able to meet in the former room. We had to change our starting time, but we were back to our "home!"
- Set the chairs up facing away from the door. Some people are really interested in what is going on out there!
- Listen to the staff. They often know the best way to set up or perhaps I should say, the only way allowed.
- At one home where I used to minister, there was a group of only 6 or 7 ladies. I set them up in a tight semi-circle and I sat in a chair in front of them. That was one of my favorite places to go! We had good contact and lots of interaction.
- It's okay to sit in front of your group now and then. In fact, it is said to be the best way when working with old folk. (Sit somewhere where you can see everybody!)