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Shannon McClure of Oklahoma City comforts a patient at a hospital in Lugansk, Ukraine.

Hospice team teaches in Ukraine

We can serve Christ at every stage of our lives. The mostly older residents of an Oklahoma City retirement center confirmed that when they helped birth a medical mission to Ukraine.

Through fundraisers, the Epworth Villa community supported a five-member Oklahoma team that spent two weeks in May training Ukrainians in hospice care.

Undergirding the mission was the partnership between Epworth Villa and Quality Life Hospice, formalized last year. Donations also came from Acts 2 UMC in Edmond.

United Methodist missionary Patrick Whaley, assigned in Ukraine, also filled a key role. In childhood, he attended OKC-Wesley UMC. Now a Tennessee clergy member, Rev. Whaley has revisited and spoken at Wesley church.

In the former Soviet state, hospice care is almost non-existent yet desperately needed for those terminally ill and their families, explained team member Shannon McClure. Childhood mortality is unusually high.

During the mission, the Oklahomans interacted with and trained medical professionals and community leaders on the tools and framework for implementing home-based hospice care. McClure said efforts will continue through teleconferencing.

McClure, a nurse, noted yet another UM connection within the mission. Her son, now deceased, took part in two youth mission trips to Russia through OKC-St. Luke’s. Her hospice work is a way to honor his memory.

Also on the team were Dr. Vail Stephens, chaplain Dennis Pendleton, nurse Kristen McCarty, and Epworth Villa resident and volunteer Walter Thoni.

Manor developing specialized housing

In Tulsa, Oklahoma Methodist Manor (OMM) has begun redesigning its Health Center into six distinct "households" of specialized care.

Two of the six households opened this spring. The transformation of the 84-occupant Health Center draws on a new neighborhood household model. A consistent team of OMM caregivers will serve one household, 10-16 bedrooms with common living, dining, and outdoor spaces.

On April 14, Priddy Harbor was dedicated as the first household. More than 100 people attended the program. This household was enabled by a charitable gift from Cecil and Aran Priddy of McAlester, who were members of Grand Avenue UMC in that city.

On May 17, Cobb Landing was opened. This section serves people who need memory support. A charitable gift in memory of H.E. "Ed" Cobb Jr. made possible the renovation. Cobb was a president of the OMM Board of Directors. Ed and Louise Cobb were members of Tulsa-First UMC.

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