Monday, February 3, 2014

Focusing on faith and family

By Marisa Geitner, president & C.E.O. of Heritage Christian Services

At Heritage Christian Services, we describe ourselves as family. We celebrate when our co-workers have weddings and babies – and we walk with them when there is loss, or things that are difficult to bear.

We have a tradition of focusing on faith and family every Sunday in our residential and respite programs, and we’re proud of the relationships that have come out of that. In fact, I’ve invited a few people to tell how setting aside time for relationships and spiritual growth has influenced their lives. You’ll find their stories below.

We are mindful of our staff members who work holidays and weekends, and we are always working on how we might be better able to honor their family and faith traditions, too.

Edie Fantaske started working at Heritage Christian the same day Lisa Peters moved into her apartment at South Forest, and they have been close ever since. Edie knows that faith and family are important to Lisa. “I think that singing in the choir brings Lisa total joy to be able to use the gifts that God has given her.”

“I love Sundays because I get to relax and get refreshed before the week coming up,” said Lisa Peters, who attends Holy Infant of Prague Roman Catholic Church in Cheektowaga and sings in the choir. “My mom and dad meet me at church every other week to pick me up afterward. They come to my church on Christmas and Easter to see me sing.”
When Lisa returns home on Sundays, she enjoys catching up with friends. “Sunday is a day I can dedicate myself to my church, my family and my friends at South Forest.”

Focusing on faith gives Lisa Jackson inspiration for the week.
“It gives me a sense of strength to push me forward and know there is a greater purpose in life.”

The men who live at the home on Fairport Road in Pittsford have been enjoying church for years – but it didn’t really become a natural part of Sunday until they made friendships there.
“We participate in several of the activities the church holds including bowling parties, pancake breakfasts and game nights,” said Lisa Jackson, who often attends Perinton Presbyterian Church. “And all of the men we support participate in the adult work camp that is held in the spring.”

Lisa has become involved with the church, too. “I was recently asked by a member of the church to also join the missions team and have attended several meetings. I took on the holiday food baskets and organized 11 families receiving a Christmas dinner.”

Now, Sunday is a day they all look forward to.

“Being so involved with the church I feel does change our overall perception on life and that we are here not to serve ourselves but to serve God and each other.”