Nancy Longmire and Refuge
Imagine walking into a room filled with over a hundred high school students along with a handful of seventy-plus year old seniors, laughing and conversing with one another. This beautiful picture is not simply a thought or a hope, it is a reality at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.
Nancy Longmire was someone who expressed interest in serving with emerging adolescents in the church. Initially, the idea was to have her lead a small group of young women. Then, Nancy was invited into the high school ministry night, called Refuge. She was nervous, felt a bit out of place at first, but began to slowly start conversations with students. After a couple of weeks being with the senior girls’ small group, she began to share and offer bits of wisdom. Her words were embraced because she was authentic, real, and listened well; she had earned a place with them.
Shortly thereafter, Nancy was so excited about what was taking place that she invited six other older individuals to Refuge. Young and old came together in community, living into one of St. Andrew’s real values. An individual who came that night was also a Nancy, Nancy Bell. She observed and listened, even bringing snacks for the students. What was more powerful than snacks was the listening ear and openness within the group of girls. Nancy Bell expressed that in her family, that after a gathering, they all come together and shout “I love you!” three times, and so, if you come on a Monday night, you will hear a group of junior girls shouting “I love you” three times from the worship room. It’s a beautiful sight to see. At the end of the ministry year, Nancy bought her junior girls’ small group devotionals and toward the end of the night I asked a few girls leaving, “how was your night,” and they quickly responded, “it was amazing, Nancy is the best thing that has happened to our small group!”
The two Nancy’s demonstrate that intergenerational ministry is possible and essential for a church to grow in a healthy way.
Congratulations to both Nancy’s for initiating this creative journey with adolescent girls! What a refreshing ministry.
I remember when you were hesitant about being involved with “high school” kids and making a difference in their lives. However, you took on the task and – you now love your girls – and they love YOU! Thank you for serving the younger generation in our church. Each one is blessed to have you as an example of living a Christ-filled life.
I believe our kids are looking for authenticity in adults. They need you to believe in, look up to, receive wisdom from, and experience authentic caring and love from you. You blessed ladies have met them in their hearts.
God’s blessings and love to you,