Dare to care
On 23 June, Homelands Free Church in Frinton, Essex, was full to overflowing at a thanksgiving service to mark the merging of the Ernest Luff Homes with the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. Pilgrims’ Friend supporters, trustees and directors came from all over the country for the service. They were joined by staff and residents from the Ernest Luff Homes.
Derek Carpenter, the manager, showed a graphic presentation of the history of the home and Ernest Luff on an overhead projector, including old sepia photographs. Barbara Margetts, Pilgrims’ Friend Society Manager of Housing and Care, read Matthew 25:31-46 and Pastor Rodney Sawtel, Colchester, spoke on the importance of works that sprang from faith.
It is good news for everyone at the Ernest Luff Homes. In addition to the main care home, which has places for 37 elderly people, there is a separate house specialising in dementia care, with 27 places. People can book for short-stay respite care – an increasingly popular option with caregivers needing a break. For some carers, it is the only way they can take a holiday.
At the same time, the individual in care benefits from the special attention received from teams of trained carers. Ernest Luff Homes also has a number of sheltered housing bungalows.
Man of faith
In these days when residential care homes are closing all over the county, it makes a change to read about one that is celebrating a promising future, especially when that home was founded by a man who lived by faith and whose maxim was ‘God has resources’.
In the 1920s Ernest Luff was famous as the leader of the Pilgrim Preachers, a band of evangelists who travelled the country on foot, speaking to people as they went. In his home town of Frinton, Essex, he was known for his evangelism, Bible shop and the mission hall he established.
At the age of 75, when most men would have long retired, struck by the needs of frail, elderly Christians, he set about raising funds for a series of care homes. This resulted eventually in this attractive, purpose-built care scheme in the seaside town of Frinton.
The 21st century has not been kind to care homes and, in the past few years, thousands have been scuppered by rising costs and burgeoning regulations. In the circumstances the Pilgrim preacher would have said, more than once, that ‘God has resources’, and he would have approved of the way the Lord has brought his work into this safe harbour.
Resident Constance Kulik said, ‘It was a day to celebrate, to remember Mr Luff, to rejoice in that vision from which each resident benefits, and to know that the merger with the Pilgrims’ Friend Society means that the work will continue and possibly expand. I’m sure that all went their way moved and inspired’.
One of the stewards on the day was Mark Corton, senior care assistant, who has been at the home since 1992. He said, ‘There are a lot of activities, but we particularly enjoy the church meetings and Bible clubs. The idea for the clubs came from one of the residents who used to be a lay preacher, and who knows the Bible back to front. Between 10-12 residents come along regularly’.