After Katherine Gould’s father began attending the Montgomery Respite Ministry, she was inspired to launch a community in her own church, Christ Episcopal Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This is the story Katherine Gould told her congregation prior to opening Connect, a respite ministry where Love Never Forgets:

My dad is a retired psychologist, an incredible pianist, a songwriter, and has always been a social butterfly. He is an amazing grandfather – funny, compassionate, and joyful. Unfortunately, he started having odd symptoms about 12 years ago, and it took almost 10 years before he received a diagnosis of Multiple Systems Atrophy. The signs and symptoms are similar to those of Parkinson’s disease, and his mental faculties just aren’t as sharp. It was hard to convince ourselves that something was wrong since he has always been forgetful. This disease has robbed him of his joy. He is so uncomfortable, and it consumes his thoughts, unless it’s a Respite day.

Twice a week, my mom drops him off at their church, and he is greeted by friends from the church and community. They drink coffee and talk football, then start the day at tables where they might play games, challenge their brains with word association or art recognition. After a great lunch, they move to balloon volleyball (not his favorite, but it keeps him moving), do an art project, and then he always gets to be the piano man and lead the group in showtunes. After 4 active hours, my mom picks him up. She has received a much-needed break and possibly attended a support group. That night my dad has something fun to think about and typically has the best sleep of his week. This love and support he receives from the community each week is such a blessing for all.

This is what we are bringing to Tuscaloosa. It’s not just for Christ Church. It’s for the community and will be housed at Christ Church. We have the space, we have talented and compassionate people, and we have the friends who need our love.