Kaleidoscope ministry helps cancer patients
|Lisa Schall works on the Bags of Hope for cancer patients as part of the Kaleidoscope ministry at Byron (Calif.) United Methodist Church. Photo courtesy of Loren Jenks.|
Byron (Calif.) United Methodist Church provides hope and comfort, connection and communication for cancer patients and their families through the Kaleidoscope outreach ministry.
“Cancer is like a bomb going off in the living room, because it affects not just the patient but everyone else around,” says Jan Page, a three-time cancer survivor. Yet cancer patients often struggle with a growing sense of isolation and anxiety, she said.
Page and Cherie Graser founded Kaleidoscope in 2003. At the request of a family member, friend or counselor, a Kaleidoscope representative delivers a Bag of Hope to someone diagnosed with cancer. Items filling the bags are inspirational, beautiful, useful or just plain fun.
Kaleidoscope also seeks to connect the patient with another person who is dealing with the same diagnosis and offers support group meetings for patients and family members.
“The Bag of Hope is what we bring, but what comes out of it is the connection and the love that overflows when people choose to give of themselves,” said volunteer Susan Milner.
Kaleidoscope began with the delivery of one or two Bags of Hope a month. It now delivers more than one a day. A Kaleidoscope “kids club” lets children and teens help with the ministry.
Kaleidoscope members have talked about the ministry in other churches and to the California-Nevada Conference.
Attendance at Byron Church has increased since Kaleidoscope began. It’s a model ministry for church revitalization, said the Rev. Dan Sturdivant, pastor. “You can try new music and new worship forms and all sorts of things, but nothing revitalizes a church like doing a ministry that matters.”
—Adapted from a story by Loren Jenks in Connection, a publication of the California-Nevada Conference.
AT A GLANCE » Byron United Methodist Church | 14671 Byron Highway, Byron, CA 94514 | (925)634-1411 | Pastor: Rev. Dan Sturdivant | firstname.lastname@example.org | Average attendance: 60 | California-Nevada Conference