Our first set of residents enjoyed a scenic trip to enjoy the Fall foliage and to stop by the boardwalk at Lake Mohawk last week.
And for all it was a true breath of fresh air to enjoy another taste of normalcy post pandemic.
As one resident described it, “what joy to bask in the sunshine of the Mohawk valley!” “Who knew such beauty was so close by”, said another.
With those rave reviews a second trip is planned for Nov. 19th to take another group of our residents to enjoy it too.
Rev. Dawn is Reviving the Spirit of our Residents through Inspiration and Song
It isn’t hard to smile when Rev. Dawn gathers residents together to be reminded of a loving God who cares for them; and how they too can uplift each other by caring for those in their midst.
Despite being the newest addition to The Cliffs Family, she has found a welcomed community ready to enjoy her energy and wisdom, as part of our Spiritual Enrichment Support Team.
Rev. Dawn has a Masters of Divinity and a Doctorate in Metro Urban Ministry. She worked as a full-time Social Justice Minister and Clergy for her congregation in Perth Amboy, N J for 5 years. After that, she was called into chaplaincy. Presently, Rev. Dawn divides her time as the Primary Chaplain of Heritage Mano, which offers her the opportunity to minister to hospice, dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as our Cliffs residents.
As Rev. Dawn establishes relationships with our staff and residents, her goal is to “present ministry through bringing the presence of God in a way that is familiar and comfortable to the community”.
Rev. Dawn will be at The Cliffs weekly on Thursdays to be a support to both residents and staff members.
Cliffs Staff and Residents Remembered in a Special Way
It’s hard to believe that Nyla Armstrong is now in college. We had gotten to know Nyla through her grand-mother, resident, Cynthia Armstrong over the several years she visited her grandmother, Cynthia, along with her mom, Anya and her aunt Andrea.
Not only was Nyla a top student, she was also a teen pageant winner. So, it was a delight to hear Nyla on the phone a few weeks ago to learn she was a student at Kean University in their Graphic Arts program, and then to learn the reason for her call…
As part of an art class community project, Nyla explained: “Our freshmen art class chose to paint pictures for the elderly that would make them smile. When we chose that project, my mind went to you and the staff at the Cliffs who helped me, my mother, my aunt and especially my grandmother. It really means a lot to me that we can send these paintings to you and the members at The Cliffs as a thank you for all you did for us”.
I asked Nyla for a message from her to the residents. Here is what she said: “We hope this project made you smile, because your smile is the shining light that we worked for…” Nyla not only brought a smile to our residents, but to the staff as well, knowing that the care they give day to day makes a difference in people’s lives, and not just the Cliffs resident, but their families as well.
A Tribute to a Cherished Member of the Cliffs Family, Faith Longstreet
Since the moment the Cliffs opened its doors in May of 2005, Faith Longstreet had been part of the welcoming staff initially greeting our “Pioneers” as we called our first roster of new residents, until the final days of her life’s journey. Faith’s affection for our residents was often the reason Faith was the first person families would seek out to create a memorial service for their loved one when that time came. Now, sadly, it is our turn to bid our dear friend farewell with a profound thank you for helping the Cliffs become a premier community for the elderly in New Jersey.
Below are excerpts from her Obituary that recently appeared in a local paper:
Faith Suem Longstreet, 78, was called home to her eternal resting place on Thursday, April 29, 2021. Faith was born in Perth Amboy on, March 21, 1943 to Clarence V. & Viola M. Longstreet. Faith was a goal-oriented achiever with a calling to serve God through serving others and that’s exactly how she chose to give and live her life by.
After graduating from Drew University in 1965, she was commissioned by the American Baptist Foreign Mission Board to a position in Chang Mei, Thailand where she worked with the Hmong tribal people. She later moved to England, where she helped set up the photographic library for the British and Foreign Bible Society and was involved in Christian Arts movement in London. She traveled back and forth for many years until she returned to Woodbridge, NJ to care for her aging parents.
After her return to US, Faith worked for the Township’s Board of Education for many years as a teacher in the Gifted and Talented program until its end; then on to being a regular substitute teacher for many years following until she retired to give more time to her passion of ministry.
Faith founded the Woodbridge Township People of Faith more than 15 years ago that grew to providing upwards of 160 outreach meals to people in need and those shut-in. Her mission was to provide home-cooked, hand-delivered meals by caring folks who would take time to connect with those who may feel lonely or forgotten. The meals were provided every 2 months for all major commercial and religious holidays occurring in that 2 month period throughout the year. Each meal came with a napkin, a special holiday message or prayer, an applicable Scripture to offer them hope along with a handcrafted keepsake to make each recipient feel special, loved and bring them joy! In conjunction, Faith worked with other community programs in the Township, food shopping and delivering to countless recipients.
Faith also served on the Board of Directors at The Cliffs at Eagle Rock Assisted Living Facility in West Orange, NJ, as well as serving as their Spiritual Director until the pandemic restricted close interaction with the residents. In her role as Spiritual Director, Faith provided countless uplifting programs, music, spiritual counseling, in addition to coordinating and officiating Memorial Services held for the community of residents themselves when others at the facility passed.
She devoted many years of her life to serving the First Congregational Church as President of the Women’s Fellowship group as their full-time Church Organist and in conducting Worship Services nearly full-time for a period of a year, then as needed from that point on.
A Memorial Service will be planned for in the near future at the Cliffs at Eagle Rock.
A Parting Tribute to Rev. Richard Hines
It is with profound sadness that we inform the Cliffs
Community that Pastor Richard Hines, Pastor of Milburn Baptist Church who faithfully
led our resident community in weekly Bible studies for over 13 years, and who
served along with his wife, Marilyn, as managers on the Cliffs at Eagle Rock’s
Board of Managers, pasted away peacefully at home on Sunday, March 21st.
For over 45 years, as pastor of The First Baptist
Church of Milburn, Pastor Hines and his congregation took on the undergirding
of the mission of the Baptist Home Society at its original location on Roseville
Ave in Newark, providing spiritual guidance and mentoring to its Board and residents.
As the mission of the Baptist Home Society of New
Jersey transformed and became the Cliffs at Eagle Rock, Rev. Hines gladly continued
to volunteer time and energy to spiritual enrich the lives of the residents.
As the residence grew in number and activities became
more plentiful, Rev. Hines volunteered, along with his beloved dog, Havana, to
provide an entertaining and lively Bible study every Monday afternoon.
Residents of all faiths took part, perhaps enchanted
by the wag of Havana’s tail, or the stories Rev Hines would share with his
booming voice, or his programs which were always peppered with lots of singing,
residents were always left with a stirring message of God’s love.
For Rev, Hines serving his Lord through pastoral
ministries was the commitment and joy of his life. He will be sorely missed by staff and
Cliffs Staff Enjoy a THANK YOU Luncheon
It was with heartfelt gratitude that a thank-you luncheon was given to Cliffs staff for their relentless dedication and commitment to upholding the Cliffs 130-year mission to serving the elderly. This year, the Cliffs celebrates 10 years of Advanced Standing Status.
hard work continues to support a well-run, nurturing residence where, as the
saying goes, everyone truly knows your name….
The staff are taking special pride in this year’s recognition, especially after this past year, where all were called to go the extra mile. And, the bond created among them as they see the Cliffs coming back to life, is not only a result of hard work, but a gift supported by the prayers, confidence, and appreciation of our residents.
This is a time to also recognize all the faithful families that have undergirded us through these many months of restriction and yes, of loss. And who stand with us to welcome a new year with full anticipation of better days to come for residents, families, and Cliffs staff, as for our nation.
This wonderful recognition by the State of New Jersey is a deserving tribute to every one of our Cliffs Family, Staff, and Friends!
Life at The Cliffs
The Cliffs residents have certainly kept busy during the past year. Besides the daily activities put in place, several groups and clubs were established by our residents. First is The Cliffs Choral Group led by Faith Longstreet and Charlotte Crosswell. The Choral Group has performed several times for our residents and guests. Some of their performances were during last year’s Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day.
The group also led a special performance for the Board of Directors during their Annual Meeting in June 2016. Another club that was established last year is the Opera Club—the members meet every Thursday afternoon to enjoy an opera on an HD television with surround sound system in the Private Dining Room. Recently formed is The Cliffs’ very first Science Club. The members meet every Saturday in the Private Dining Room to watch documentaries and have discussions about the most controversial advancement in the field of Science.
Lastly, a group called “After Lunch Bunch” was formed by one of our most beloved volunteer, Nancy Hanna. This intimate group is exclusive to wheelchair-bound residents who meet every other Wednesday in the Country Kitchen where they have discussions about their lives, feelings, families, and events happening in the country.