Parking lot preaching: Cornerstone pastor preaches to the citizens of the Cedars from outside the facility

Published 7:01 am Saturday, June 6, 2020

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The last two and a half months have been an uncertain and lonely time for residents in senior living communities across the nation, but the Cedars of Austin was able to shine a light on its residents for a short time on Wednesday.

Pastor Dave Simerson of Cornerstone Church made an appearance and offered a service from the parking lot of the Cedars of Austin as residents looked on from their windows on Wednesday afternoon.

Simerson has made plenty of visits to the Cedars for services over the years and his late mother, Janece “Bunny” Simerson, also used to live at the Cedars. He appreciated the opportunity to come back and speak to the residents in a spiritual setting.

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“It was very special. I miss seeing all of these people at Chapel Service and seeing their smiles,” Simerson said. “They’re very special people and it’s great just to have the opportunity to make our way around the facility and share that God loves them and God cares deeply for them. Even though they might feel alone in this time, we want to reassure them as they look to Jesus by faith, that he is with them and they are not forgotten.”

Cathy Ehley, the recreation wellness director at Cedars of Austin, said she saw a need to bring church to the residents over the past few weeks when she noticed them watching services on TV, listening on the radio, or on smart devices.

“I think they miss seeing their pastors face to face,”Ehley said. “We started doing traveling music a couple of weeks ago so we figured why not just do traveling church.”

Ehley said that Simerson’s visit provided a boost to the moods of the residents, who have had a difficult time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unfortunately a lot of the elderly have to be home during this time,” she said. “They can’t go anywhere and you see a lot of depression and you see sadness. This gives them an outlet to know that people are there for them. There pastors are there for them and the staff is there for them during this time.”

No matter what the elderly population is going through at this time, Simerson wants them to know that they are not alone.

“When you know somebody’s fighting for you, it strengthens that bond,” he said.