Gather balance with the Rev. Emily Carson's presentation.

The "Lady Pastor" will be speaking to local senior citizens on Tuesday, July 8, at 10 a.m., as part of a series of programs offered through Help Our Neighbors (HON), Chatfield's senior citizen assistance resource.

"The goal of this presentation is to provide participants with tools for a 'balanced life toolkit,'" said Chatfield United Methodist Church and Gathering Place parish nurse Beverly Simpson. "During her talk, Emily will provide conversational food-for-thought."

According to her biography, she grew up in Dunkerton, Iowa, and was a Lutheran pastor in Stewartville. She currently is a Lutheran pastor serving at the Southeastern Minnesota Synod Office in Rochester.

Carson is not only a pastor, but is a blogger, photographer, sister, daughter, friend and more. During her time at seminary, she joined a volunteer clergy group who served as chaplains at a local hospital. The meetings often were attended by 29 men and one woman - she was the woman.

Carson said she did not mind being called "the lady pastor" - in fact, she eventually liked it and embraced it, going on to write a weekly Wednesday column, "The Lady Pastor," in the Rochester Post-Bulletin.

Simpson stated, "Pastor Emily Carson is especially interested in writing and public speaking and Help Our Neighbors will host her as a guest speaker - begin your day with this presentation, and enjoy a brunch with coffee and conversation afterward."

Simpson quoted Carson, "Pastor Emily says about the program, 'As we learn from one another, we will explore the importance of healthy relationships, meaningful spiritual outlets, creativity and physical activity'."

The parish nurse outlined various activities slated to take place at The Gathering Place throughout the coming months.

"The Gathering Place will continue to host a monthly Living With Cancer support group beginning again in September," she said. "Help Our Neighbors, in collaboration with Olmsted Medical Clinic and The Gathering Place at Chatfield UMC, has sponsored 'Powerful Tools for Caregivers,' 'A Matter of Balance,' 'Living With Chronic Conditions' and 'Mind Your Stress' workshops during the past two years."

Simpson also wanted to remind area seniors that monthly coffee and conversation opportunities will be available at the various churches, along with educational pieces such as gardening by Hillside Nursery, a watercolor class by a Red Wing artist, an Arthritis Foundation walking program and other exercise classes.

"All of these activities support healthy relationships, meaningful spiritual outlets, creativity and physical activity, all of which Ms. Carson will explore," she added.

Simpson invited anyone who'd like to hear Carson speak to join the audience at The Gathering Place, with no need to bring anything.

"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," she said. "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."

Help Our Neighbors and The Gathering Place will host Emily Carson on Tuesday, July 8, at 10 a.m., followed by a light brunch at 11 a.m. Free-will donations will be appreciated to promote and help sustain services provided by Help Our Neighbors, including transportation, respite care and friendly visits.

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