While not a resident, Jerroll Martens has been a large part of the Newton Presbyterian Manor community for the past decade. As chaplain at the manor, he has interacted with both residents and staff in a number of ways over the years — something he was prepared for given his previous line of work.
"I've been in the pastoral ministry all of my life; I had pastored a church (Meridian Baptist) here in Newton for 33 years," Martens said. "I retired from that and then this was a part-time job that became available. I was encouraged to consider it, which I did, and so I've been there now 10 years."
As chaplain, Martens has taken on a number of tasks in his time at Newton Presbyterian Manor, including leading various Bible studies, holding chapel services (where Martens will speak or arrange for guest speakers), comforting families with loved ones toward the end of life, arranging monthly memorial services for residents who have died, etc.
Those tasks all line up with the mentality built up from his time as a pastor and have carried over into how he views his chaplain duties, as well.
"It's a way of helping people spiritually, and I guess that's kind of what I've considered as my role as pastor," Martens said.
On top of what he's done as chaplain at Newton Presbyterian Manor, Martens has been fully invested in the manor since taking on that role. He also serves on the ethics committee, is considered part of the management team and spends a lot of time connecting with staff and residents on a personal level.
Whether through short interactions (e.g. leading devotional time at breakfast and sharing fun history facts) or deeper conversations, Martens said he has enjoyed working with the staff and residents over the past decade at Newton Presbyterian Manor.
Martens is set to retire again now, with a reception held Friday. Looking back on his time as chaplain, he said the staff members were extremely supportive of his role and the way he furthered the manor's mission "to provide quality senior services guided by Christian values." He said he felt able to provide some true spiritual help in his time as chaplain, but noted that doesn't have to be limited to those types of roles.
"Probably all persons need encouragement along the road of life; we all need spiritual encouragement and we can be of help to one another," Martens said. "I would encourage anyone to get involved trying to help someone else along that road."