“Well God. Here I am for another day; what do you want me to do with it?”
Today at the young age of 97, Verda Aegerter is the epitome of grace and faith. As Verda’s Lifesprk Life Care Manager, Mary Claire, puts it, “Verda is an ongoing example of both open mind & open heart. This is inspiring to all whose lives are sparked by hers. We are happy to have a role in keeping Verda independent and able to share her life and wisdom with others.”
Which is why Verda’s May 16th, Lifesprk Wish was perfect: re-visit her “second home” at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis to give a tour of the church like she used to and say hi to fond friends. (“Oh, is Verda here? I must say hello!” We heard that from several people in the church that day!)
The stage was set: a beautiful, sunny day outside to enjoy the stunning exterior church architecture. An anticipation in the air for Verda to arrive so we could learn the inside stories of this striking downtown Minneapolis church where she had worshipped for more than 50 years and had been a pastor (the church’s first female pastor!) for more than 30 years.
Around the corner they came! Verda and her daughter, Evelyn, arrived in “the purple jelly-bean,” as Mary Claire likes to call it … A.K.A. the sparked-out car that Mary Claire drives to visit Verda and her other Lifesprk clients. They were greeted by Senior Pastor Bruce Robbins and Bishop Wayne Clymer who were thrilled to see Verda back in church!
The tour began in the Sanctuary where we heard hilarious stories of Verda giving communion to streakers (“I served them then they left!”) and stalling a wedding ceremony because she had just learned that the groom was in jail! Verda lit up and recalled with great detail other poignant stories about how the congregation was also there for people in need during hardship and tough times.
The sharing continued the with a trip upstairs to get closer to the stained glass windows (“the one with women in them are my favorite!”) … into the art room that boasted, big, bold pieces of art about spirituality, faith and perseverance … then into the library where Verda and Pastor Robbins told stories about the stories on the shelves – and made sure Verda had no outstanding, overdue fines!
One of Verda’s favorite stops was in front of the photos of Hennepin Methodists past pastors – going all the way back to 1875 when the church was founded. You could just feel Verda connecting to the past while enjoying the present moment.
Then it was lunch time! Back into the “purple jelly-bean” for a ride over to the Minneapolis Women’s Club where everyone dined with Verda and paid attention to her every word, especially her final story: “A friend of mine who lived to be 103 told me that she went to window every day she woke up and said, ‘Well God. Here I am for another day; what do you want me to do with it?’ I’ve adopted that mantra for my own life.” Share on, Verda. Share on!
See the Other Dream Rally Wishes We Granted Here: