Retirement Doesn’t Mean Ministry Is Over
June 25—Cindy Culver recalled one of her first assignments as chaplain of the First United Methodist Church.
“In my head, I thought ‘I have all this education, why do I have to do this?’ I was in this little office taking attendance, and God said, “Because you don’t know their names,” she said.
Since then, Culver has come to know many names at church. For 16 years she ministered, helped in worship, organized funerals, led support groups, visited countless people in hospitals and nursing homes. She said her job involved “just listening to people”.
She is retiring from paid ministry this month. The church will hold a reception after its Sunday morning service.
Turning 70 in July was one factor, she said. She said her husband, Gale, had been with her for 47 years of marriage.
“I have two grandchildren, apples of my eye. I have a son, and they are involved in a lot of activities,” she said. “My husband is older than me. It’s time to spend more time with him. We have a boat. I love to fish. I love to swim.”
Retirement also offers the freedom to choose what to do and when to do it.
“Not a lot of schedules,” she said. “It gives me the freedom to just say no and not feel guilty.”
However, Culver said she still plans to continue serving others.
“I will continue to help with the support of GriefShare, teaching Sunday school, leading the Angel Tree ministry,” she said. “My promise to God was that I will never cease serving until the day I die.”
Culver began working as a First United Methodist chaplain after retiring from teaching in 2006.
She remembered situations that would break her heart.
“When someone showed up at the door and needed immediate financial help, and there was no way to help them. It was just too much money,” he said. she declared. “They came here with a $900 bill and needed you to pay it for them.”
She said she would call other churches to try and find the money “and it didn’t always work out.”
Culver said the blessings come when she can sit down with people and make them feel comfortable.
“Building their confidence and allowing me to pray for them and be a joy to them,” she said. “Sit with a dying patient and sing songs for that person, just pray for them. These kinds of things are once-in-a-lifetime things.