Pastoral Care

Wesley Woods provides communities of joy, laughter and inspired living. For those blessed with the gift of years, a full life may also include grief and loneliness. To ensure residents continue to thrive spiritually, chaplains serve in each Wesley Woods community, encouraging older adults to stay connected to their faith through worship, prayer and Bible study. They visit residents in the hospital, counsel through struggle and loss and help them find purpose and hope.



Chaplain Susan Amick loves to connect with our church partners. While at Embry Hills United Methodist Church, Susan sat with the daughter of a former resident who introduced her to a church friend. The friend had never been to Wesley Woods Towers and was interested in learning more about the food pantry that helps residents when their resources run a bit short. Susan invited her to see the ministry for herself. Recently, she came to visit and brought much needed supplies.

Our chaplains strengthen the connections between Wesley Woods and our church partners who generously volunteer their time and share their gifts.

Be a part of providing Pastoral Care to residents at Wesley Woods by making a gift at


At Wesley Woods of Blairsville, Chaplain Melanie Stanley-Soulen is helping residents tell their life stories. She led a workshop to help residents write down who they are and what they would like for their legacies to be. Their words may never be published in a newspaper or even shared with anyone else, but the process of reflecting on their lives helps them have gratitude for the life road they have traveled, a sense of peace in the present, and hope for their future. 

Members from one of our strongest church partners, Lanier United Methodist, have volunteered to spend a Saturday interviewing residents and writing down their stories for them. Chaplain Stanley-Soulen will curate the stories into the Wesley Woods of Blairsville Legacies book. She hopes to capture all the stories of the people who make the community a place of connection, well-being, and promise. 

Be a part of providing Pastoral Care to residents at Wesley Woods by making a gift at



Carolyn had not left her apartment since she entered hospice care. Knowing her isolation, I called to ask if I could visit to pray for her and anoint her for healing. As we sat together in her home, Carolyn spoke of her difficult experience and her doctor’s recommendations for pain control. I listened and encouraged her, sharing insights from my previous work as a hospice chaplain. This seemed to give her a sense of peace. 

She shared that she has not enjoyed eating, except for the occasional Wendy’s hamburger that her niece would bring. It had been a couple of days since she had eaten. As our visit ended, we prayed together. An idea had come to me. About a half hour later, I knocked on Carolyn’s door and offered her a Wendy’s hamburger. Carolyn expressed gratitude for the kind gesture. Chaplains sometimes offer food for the body as well as the spirit. 

Be a part of providing Pastoral Care to residents at Wesley Woods by making a gift at


At Wesley Woods we envision a world where older adults are celebrated for the lives they have lived, the wisdom they share, and all they have yet to teach us. Our residents are such wonderful teachers. In the sixteen years I have been the chaplain at Wesley Woods of Newnan, I have had the privilege to know, love, and care for many residents. Some of those persons were in their 70’s when I started, and they are now in their 90’s. They’ve shared their lives and stories with me—the blessings and burdens of aging; how to live deeply in faith; how to welcome new persons and experiences; and how to say goodbye, grieve, and let go. They are teaching me every day how to live my life and how best to journey with my parents and my adult children in their lives. I am grateful to our residents for being such wonderful teachers, and for their love, care, and willingness to teach me and others how to live the best of the story.

Be a part of providing Pastoral Care to residents at Wesley Woods by making a gift at


Wesley Woods residents love to eat together. Community mealtimes provide nourishment for body and soul, and the chaplains recognize that being present in the dining room with residents is an opportunity for connection. Chaplains Carol Scroggs and Dick Huycke, in Athens, go on a walk about, stopping at tables and chatting with residents they might not otherwise see. When a new resident appears at the table, chaplains can easily offer a first welcome to the neighborhood and make an appointment to visit them in their home. Chaplain Rick Nevard regularly enjoys meals with residents in Augusta. One resident recently thanked him for joining them for lunch. “When you eat with us, you are one of us. It means a lot to know you are around.” Wesley Woods is grateful for donor support that creates a place at the table for chaplains to be with our residents.

Be a part of providing pastoral care to residents at Wesley Woods by making a gift at 


In the last few weeks Wesley Woods has welcomed youth from Haygood Memorial UMC, Glenn Memorial UMC, and Lawrenceville First UMC. These churches have nurtured an ongoing connection with our community through simple conversation. Residents shared stories about ways they are still learning and growing, things that surprise them as they age, and advice gained in living through so many decades of change. Youth reflected on their interests and shared their curious questions about growing older and living in community. 

A resident shared that he had a problem with his smart watch, and one of the youth jumped in to solve the problem. The resident then introduced the young woman to the game of Rummikub. They laughed and smiled the entire time they played, and she was surprised to learn that he is 95 years old. “No, there is no way! she exclaimed.” 

When people are curious about one another’s lives, when they lean in toward one another to listen, and then pause to ask another question or to share a moment from their own lives... THAT is when connection happens! As the resident expressed, “You can’t trade that for anything.” 

Be a part of providing pastoral care to residents at Wesley Woods by making a gift at 


Over the last year and a half, Wesley Woods chaplains have held the spiritual center for our communities. They have prayed with residents in their grief and uncertainty, shared in celebrations of hope and healing, and helped people find spiritual strength for the journey. In Augusta, Chaplain Rick Nevard remembers a resident who was struggling to find strength for a difficult time in her life. “I assured her that she did have the strength and at her weakest moments, God’s strength would be there for her. We wept, we prayed, we sang hymns, and we came through to the other side. She determined that with God’s help she would be able to face this. As she left, she said, ‘God bless you, Chaplain. You are my pastor and my friend.’” 

Be a part of providing Pastoral Care to residents at Wesley Woods by making a gift at


Three years ago, when I became the first O. Wayne Rollins Director of Pastoral Care for Wesley Woods Senior Living, I could not have imagined how a global pandemic would challenge the world and especially those of us who work in older adult ministries. What I could imagine was a dream team of chaplains—dedicated, skilled compassionate care partners who would help our residents continue to grow in their faith and know the grace and love of God more deeply.

The dream became a reality, and when the pandemic started, our pastoral care team was ready to meet the challenge. Over the last year and a half, Wesley Woods chaplains have prayed with residents in their grief and uncertainty, shared in celebrations of hope and healing, and helped people find spiritual strength for the journey. When family and friends could not visit, chaplains stood in the gap with love and grace. Above all, the chaplains embodied God’s presence to remind us all that we have not been alone in this time. Through your generous giving to pastoral care, the chaplains, residents and care partners together continue to create communities of connection, well-being and promise. Visit, to support the pastoral care program. 


We served communion on Maundy Thursday to residents in personal care. When I entered the apartment of one resident, she expressed excitement that I had arrived with the bread and cup. As she received the elements, tears rolled down her face because the sacrament means so much in her life.

Another resident shared that she gave a prayer of thanksgiving for me because she able to receive communion in her apartment. Your donations provide a chaplain to each Wesley Woods community to make communion and connection possible.

To make a gift to support the pastoral care program, visit



A resident learned that her sister and aunt, who had raised her, died from Covid-19. She wanted to fly to California to attend the funeral, but her family wisely insisted it would not be safe. Instead, they arranged for her to be part of the memorial via Zoom.

She talked with me about her grief and feeling disconnected from those she loves. I listened as she processed her anger and the loss of being with family to say goodbye. She said, “I never knew the real purpose of a chaplain, but the comfort I received just talking to you showed me why we need you.” Chaplains stand in the gap during this time and listen.

To make a gift to support the pastoral care program, visit


Martha Jones 103 BirthdayAs a chaplain, I provide spiritual support to residents – and their families -- and as the old saying goes, you receive more than you give. Martha Jones lived at Wesley Woods Towers for over 20 years. She was the pianist and choir director for the Vespers service, and her love of music continued to the very end of her earthly life. Near the end, Martha’s granddaughter, Tara, called me because she wanted to sing to her grandmother but could not bring herself to do it without tears. I went to Martha’s apartment with a hymnal and began singing. Martha opened her eyes wide and was very alert for the next hour as I sang. Her granddaughter sat in the bed beside her and talked with her, hugged and kissed her for the longest time, and Martha squeezed her hand knowingly. As Tara tearfully prepared to leave for the airport, I kept my place across the room, in Martha’s eyesight, and sang until she settled into sleep. As a finale to a life well lived, I recently had the privilege to preside at a Memorial Service for Martha as her family gathered via Zoom. Understanding that Wesley Woods Chaplains are only possible through donor support, Martha’s family requested donations to the Foundation of Wesley Woods to pay it forward.  I invite you to help support this ministry and all that it means to residents like Martha and their families.


Wesley Woods chaplain, Rev. Rick Nevard (pictured left), shares the story of a resident who came to his office after starting a grief support group. She confided she had been abused as a child and carried the burden of this sorrow for almost 70 years! She poured out her pain and the journey of grief she traveled to find peace and offer forgiveness. When the resident finished, she remarked, “I don’t know why I told you all of this. I guess it’s because I feel safe and know I can trust you. I am so glad you are here.”