Mount Zion Café in Waterloo opens its doors twice a month on Wednesdays at 10 am.
“It’s both good company and soup and bread,” say Karen Von Shilling and Esther Wilson laughing when asked why they like coming to the café.
The Café ministry emerged from the congregation’s visioning process. “During the process we felt that one of our mission priorities should be reaching out to seniors in our community. The Health Council took up this task and started a café in May 2016”, says Mary Slethaug, a member of the Health Council.
Grace Weber comes to the café with her husband Amos. “I was told that socialization is important in preventing dementia and for those who are experiencing it so I was looking for opportunities for socialising and I saw an ad in a local paper”, says Grace. “I also started going to an exercise class that meets in this building. It’s organized by Community Support Connections and it focuses on fall prevention.”
“I come here every time”, says Ron who lives down the street and comes by bus. “I like socializing. I meet interesting people here. I’ve met new and old friends”, he continues. “First we have coffee and around noon we have lunch, bread and soup. They also walk with people in the auditorium and a nurse is taking blood pressure in the other room”, he explains the program of the morning.
According to Mary Slethaug the main purpose of this ministry is to create a safe environment for socializing. “The Health Council members come early to prepare coffee and set up tables. However, we feel that we are mainly here to communicate with people. We listen to them and get to know them and their life stories and situations”. The Health Council of Mount Zion consists of five nurses and health professionals. In addition, Mount Zion Church has a parish nurse, Christine Ramseyer. Just before lunch Christine gives a five minute presentation with handouts on a pertinent health topic, such as influenza and loneliness during holiday seasons.
Mount Zion Café ministry is supported by the Eastern Synod Mission Committee. “We are grateful for the Synod’s support. With the funds we can provide coffee and lunch as well as a taxi ride for those who are not able to drive or use public transportation. We are also able to hire a person for a couple of hours to clean after the café”, Stephanie von Schilling explains. “When we started there were around twenty people coming; now we have more than forty. We welcome everyone.”