Blank canvas excites new chaplain

For some it could be a daunting role. Setting up a new network, in a new suburb, with people from all walks of life also starting afresh, but for Merisa Holland she is excited.

Merisa has recently been appointed the Community Chaplain at our Acacia Ridge Campus, which encompasses Wattle Apartments and Brig-O-Doon Aged Care Service and Retirement Village.             
While not her first mission role, it is her first chaplaincy role.

Previously a Senior Pastor, and eight years in a homeless service management role in Brisbane, Merisa brings experience and compassion to the role.  

Helping residents settle into the newly completed Wattle Apartments is one her first tasks.

“To have a blank canvas here, to be able to plan what this space will be with residents is so empowering for us all. I’ve a really good feeling about Wattle Apartments,” said Merisa.

“There’s green space that could be a playground or a dog park depending on needs. We have that time to all start afresh and plan as a group.”

Merisa is proud of her new role, particularly in the holistic care the new residents will receive when moving onto campus. She explains it as a real point of difference.

“Integrated housing really is what you want it to be,” Merisa said.

“There is no reason to feel isolated here. If you want privacy you have it. If you want constant contact with people and a connection that is here also.”

Completed in January, Wattle Apartments residents are still moving in, the majority are from a 10 kilometre radius meaning they are familiar with Acacia Ridge and local amenities.

“I am conscious many residents may have had little or no contact with a chaplain where they have come from so that is in the back of my mind when introducing myself.”     

One resident who was thankful for the welcome is Judy Dallinger.

“Thoughtful and heart-warming,” said Judy with a tear in her eye of the chaplain’s goodie bag and welcome on her first day.

“Having a face I now know, I have such a good feeling about being here.”

Judy works part-time as a teacher aide and relishes her role as ‘Nanny’ to grandchildren in nearby suburbs.

“I’ve a balcony with a beautiful view of the city where at night it just twinkles. The bedroom is so large I feel there’s enough room for my grandchildren to play and feel comfortable.”         

Merisa is one of our dedicated Community Chaplains working to help people in need. This vital chaplaincy program relies purely on donor support.

Read more stories like this in the latest edition of Networking.

Posted March 2, 2017 in Networking blog