When Rev. Mark Bartsch took on the role of chaplain at Heritage Homes, in Watertown, WI, the first new residents that he met were Marilyn and Frank Kapps.
As with all new residents, Pastor Bartsch took the time to meet the couple and to learn about
their lives, families and religious background. At The Lutheran Home Association communities,
chaplains serve residents by leading Bible studies, worship services and offering personal
spiritual counseling, if desired.
Pastor Bartsch figured out that the Kapps weren’t heavily involved within any specific church.
“I thought they had come here from a Baptist church in the Baraboo, WI, area and I tried to
contact the pastor there. Unfortunately, I had talked to the wrong church, because Frank and
Marilyn simply couldn’t remember the name of the church,” Pastor Bartsch explained.
Not soon after moving in, Frank’s health began to decline.
“That’s kind of how the relationship developed with Frank and Marilyn, because his health changed so
drastically. I made a point to visit them on a daily basis, or sometimes two or three times a day,” said Pastor Bartsch.
Frank passed away during the month of August in 2014, and Marilyn asked Pastor Bartsch to lead the funeral service for him.
“Marilyn kept saying, ‘I want you to do the service for Frank, because we have no other pastor. We consider you to be our pastor,’” said Pastor Bartsch, “and so I did that for her. Since then, I have essentially been her pastor.”
Over the past three years, Marilyn and Pastor Bartsch have stayed close and continued to build a relationship, often seeing each other on a daily basis.
“She attends every activity, including my Bible classes and church services on Wednesdays. She’s a faithful church member, someone who never misses any activity,” said Pastor Bartsch.
To stay in contact with all residents at Heritage Homes, Pastor Bartsch makes a point to talk with each one of the residents, in both assisted living and memory care, on a weekly basis. To see many residents, he often helps out at breakfast and shares an opening devotion and morning prayer.
“It’s amazing how much residents appreciate getting to know a pastor. I describe what I do as kind of like living with my congregation,” Pastor Bartsch explained.
Sharing God’s Word Providing Christ-centered care is at the heart of what we do. At each of our locations, we provide chaplaincy services that includes Bible studies, worship services, devotions
and personal visits. TLHA’s chaplaincy program relies on generous donors. Give today at www.tlha.org/donate.