Associate Close-Up: Pastor Kim Wecht
We recently sat down with the Director of Mission and Pastoral Care at Pitman to learn more about her and her passion for senior care and services . These are her words:
Q: What is your name and position?
A: Reverend Kim Wecht, Director of Mission and Pastoral Care.
Q: What do you like best about working for United Methodist Communities?
A: It is a sacred and special blessing for me to be able to walk alongside our residents in this part of their life journey. I love spending time with our residents and helping them to grow spiritually, to help them navigate their struggles and questions, and to be there for them in whatever need they might have emotionally and/or spiritually.
Q: What makes United Methodist Communities unique?
A: United Methodist Communities mission statement is that we will compassionately serve in community so that all are free to choose abundant life and for us that involves the whole person: body, mind and spirit. We are faith-based with an emphasis on providing for our resident’s religious and spiritual needs through having a full-time and clinically trained Chaplain as a manager and member of the community.
Q: What does “Abundant Life” mean to you?
A: For me, abundant life means living in relationship with our Lord and with each other as we together seek to live life to its fullest by doing that which fulfills us and brings us the most joy.
Q: What have you learned from working at UMC?
A: I have learned not only about the richness of life through the incredibly diverse backgrounds and life-histories of our residents, but also about their hopes, dreams, needs and fears which are equally varied.
Q: What has been your proudest moment at UMC?
A: My proudest moment was my Installation Service as Director of Mission and Pastoral Care. I will never forget the privilege and honor it was to be surrounded by and to be prayed over by the residents, my fellow associates, the leaders of UMC, and my family.
Q: What has been your career progression at UMC?
A: Throughout my time at UMC I have worked at incorporating the role of the Chaplain into more and more of the daily life of the community so that the spiritual needs of our residents are more and more central to the daily workings of what we do.
Q: Why did you choose senior care and services?
A: It is a calling that the Lord has revealed to me. Throughout my life I have always had a special affinity to spending time with the senior population. From serving as a hospital volunteer in their Senior unit to creating a ministry in my church as a teenager where I would organize teams of youth to visit our senior members and those residents of nursing homes to serving as a Pastor of senior congregations I found that I was most gifted in helping this population.
Q: Is there an older adult who had a strong influence on your life?
A: The older adults in my childhood church were very influential to me in my teen years. I would often go to them for advice, for encouragement and to listen to their stories they were always willing to share. It was these older adults who affirmed the Lord’s calling in my life for ministry.
Q: Do you have a prominent memory of your grandmother and/or grandfather?
A: My Grandfather was a United Methodist Pastor as well and I remember his kind and gentle way of being. He died when I was only ten, but his kind and gracious spirit has always stayed with me. My Grandmother is 103 years old and is living in a nursing home. Growing up, I would spend a week in the summer with her where she would teach me tips on cooking, gardening, and would bring me to visit our other relatives. I have wonderful memories of our special times together.
Q: Do the residents inspire you? Does one resident stand out?
A: The residents continuously inspire me with their strength and courage in the midst of some of life’s greatest challenges. Our residents have faced tremendous changes in their lives and yet they continue to smile, have faith, live life to their fullest and seek to serve others in whatever ways they can. It is difficult to name just one resident as so many inspire me in different ways and for various reasons, from those who do not allow their limitations to hold them back or define them to those who give so freely of their time, love, and kindness to help their fellow residents and our associates despite their age or difficulties.
Q: Where did you grow up? Where else have you lived?
A: My father and mother are also United Methodist Pastors and so we lived in many different towns throughout South and Central Jersey.
Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
A: I enjoy spending time with my husband, children and Yorkies! My absolute favorite place in the world to be is on a beach by the ocean!
Q: What is your favorite family tradition?
A: Ever since I was a child my family would go out to breakfast on Christmas Eve which I continued as a tradition in our family. Breakfast is one of my favorite meals to eat out!
Q: What are you most grateful for in your life?
A: I am so grateful for my relationship with the Lord who gives me purpose, love, strength and grace. The Lord has truly blessed me with my wonderful family and an incredible place to work!
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
A: One of the most unique opportunities that we provide for our associates is our Spiritual and Religious Heritage Retreat where the Directors of Mission and Pastoral Care lead United Methodist Associates on a two-day tour of our United Methodist history. It speaks to how important we feel it is that everyone understand where our mission and values have come from and why it is so vital for us to live out those values in the care that we provide for our residents. Our mission statement and our values are truly a part of our everyday care of our residents and I believe it makes the difference in providing not only the best care, but also the most compassionate care to those we are honored to serve.