Director of Spiritual Care at Paul’s Run, Pastor Julie Stumpf, feels lucky to listen and learn from the wisdom of residents who call this community home. As she provides inter-faith spiritual support to residents and families, she helps them discover the beauty of where they are today and the value they bring to those around them.
“I hope that as a result of spiritual care and the various programs and services we provide at Paul’s Run, that residents can understand the beauty of who they are and the value that they bring not only to this community, but to the wider world. They have so much to give,” Julie reflects. Pastor Julie has been involved in spiritual care since 2012, and knew very early on, her joy and enthusiasm in working with older adults.
“I have always been active in the Church community and was prompted by my home Pastor to study Pastoral Care and scriptures more formally. So, I went back to school and earned my Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and Theology,” she recalls. “As I was completing my service learning component, I discovered that I really enjoyed working with adults in their later years and went on to pursue my Chaplaincy, which was an added clinical training,” she explains.
Finding Paul’s Run
While Pastor Julie was completing her training in Chaplaincy, she discovered an opportunity at Paul’s Run. “I first began working here as part of the Community Life team with a position in activity planning,” she explains. Pastor Julie later became Paul’s Run’s Resident Services Coordinator, and upon completing her certification in Chaplaincy then moved on to become Director of Spiritual Care in 2017.
Within her role, Pastor Julie serves people of all different faith traditions for residents and families across every level of care. “We have many inter-faith programs at Paul’s Run. We are a diverse faith population and the residents are curious and willing to learn about one another. It gives us a huge opportunity to teach and learn about different traditions and celebrate them in ways that residents truly enjoy,” she emphasizes.
The gift of listening…
Facilitating worship services and programming that are geared towards spiritual care and nurturing, Pastor Julie also provides one-on-one visits with residents to hear their unique experiences.
I am a person who provides companionship and prayer, and a space for residents to express whatever is on their heart and mind. They love to share their lives and it is quite a gift to be the person who gets to listen and celebrate that with them.Director of Spiritual Care at Paul’s Run, Pastor Julie Stumpf
In fact, that’s part of what Pastor Julie enjoys most about her role. “Learning about residents’ lives and hearing who they are, that’s one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. The wisdom that they give not only transforms me as a result of being part of their journey, but it gives me a great gift to pass on to my own children and family,” she reflects. “The residents of Paul’s Run mentor me every day. And it’s great to have older adults to look up to and learn from,” she adds.
In addition to one-on-one meetings, Pastor Julie also helps facilitate community outreach projects in the Philadelphia region. “We build and maintain relationships with different faith leaders from the area. This not only helps residents stay connected with the faith communities they were a part of before moving here, but it gives them an opportunity to get involved in different projects and give back to the wider community,” she refers.
Partnering with a local church, several years ago Paul’s Run created a Community Service Club for residents, in which they participate in various philanthropic programs that benefit their local Philadelphian neighbors. Whether they are making sandwiches for the local homeless population or crocheting winter caps for sailors at sea, there are numerous opportunities for residents to discover the joy of giving back.
As Pastor Julie continues to engage residents in the gift of giving, she feels grateful to be a part of this kind and caring community. “At Paul’s Run, we all show up for one another. I am so thankful to be here each day.”