Emily Carson
Emily Carson
The Rev. Emily Carson is especially interested in writing and public speaking, and on Monday, Oct. 7, Help Our Neighbors (HON) and the Chatfield United Methodist Church's (CUMC) Gathering Place will host her as a guest speaker.

Gathering Place facilitator and CUMC parish nurse Beverly Simpson explained, "Her program is titled 'Building a Balanced Life,' and we invite area seniors to begin their day with our coffee and conversation meeting at 10 and to enjoy the program at 11."

Carson grew up in Dunkerton, Iowa, and has been a Lutheran pastor in Stewartville since 2009.

Simpson related, "Emily Carson is not only a pastor but is a blogger, photographer, sister, daughter, friend and more. You may have read her weekly column, 'The Lady Pastor' in Wednesday's Rochester Post-Bulletin."

During her time in seminary, Carson joined a volunteer clergy group who served as chaplains at a local hospital. The meetings were often attended by 29 men and one woman. She was the woman.

Simpson said that Carson did not mind being called "The Lady Pastor," in fact, she eventually liked it and embraced it.

The goal of Carson's presentation is to provide participants with tools for their "balanced life toolkit."

"During her talk, Emily will provide conversational food for thought," Simpson said. "As we learn from one another, we will explore the importance of healthy relationships, meaningful spiritual outlets, creativity and physical activity."

Carson's program is one of several that The Gathering Place is sponsoring throughout the year.

The Gathering Place continues to host a monthly cancer support group. It has also sponsored a six-week program for "Powerful Tools for Caregivers" and an eight-week program of "Matter of Balance" workshops that took place this summer, sponsored by grants made possible by Chatfield's Help Our Neighbors program.

Help Our Neighbors also provided monthly coffee and conversation opportunities at the various churches, along with educational pieces such as gardening by Hillside Nursery, a watercolor class by a Red Wing artist and a walking program.

Exercise classes such as low impact aerobics and tai chi have been sponsored by HON at the Gathering Place and will continue through the fall, winter, spring and summer months for Chatfield residents.

"All of the above activities support healthy relationships, meaningful spiritual outlets, creativity and physical activity, all of which Ms. Carson will explore." Simpson said. "Hopefully attendees will go away from this presentation realizing that it takes a variety of activities to 'build a balanced life' and helping them spend longer lives in their homes."

Simpson concluded, "Chatfield United Methodist's Gathering Place and our other local churches provide safe, intimate places for seniors to share concerns about aging and give them the opportunity to gather with other seniors to realize that they are not alone in these concerns."

Seniors from the Chatfield area are invited to join HON and CUMC's Gathering Place at Monday, Oct. 7, at 10 a.m. for coffee, then for Carson's hour-long presentation at 11 a.m. Attendees need not bring anything to the session, but donations will be accepted to promote and help sustain services provided by Help Our Neighbors, including transportation, chores, respite care and friendly visits to seniors.

The Gathering Place is located inside CUMC at 124 Winona St. SE, Chatfield. For more information, one may contact Beverly Simpson at (507) 867-0064.