“Every day here is a gift,” Chaplain Michael Kooy says, a wide smile spreading across his face. Reverend Kooy is the pastor at Grace Community Christian Reformed Church in Oak Lawn, but he’s also the chaplain at Victorian Village. Residents and staff routinely mention what a blessing he’s been to the community.
Chaplain Michael officially began his ministry at Victorian Village in June of 2019. For years he has been the Pastor of Grace Community Church. But last year an opportunity arose for him to split his time between those two ministries, and he felt called to this service at this point in time.
Chaplain Michael recalls that, “Years ago, my wife interviewed with Rich Schutt for an activities position at Rest Haven in South Holland.” She later also worked there as a resident aide. Michael’s grandfather lived at the Holland Home in South Holland, and his grandmother lived at Rest Haven. “I was a frequent visitor at the South Holland communities, so Providence has been an important part of my family’s life for years,” he says. He leads a Bible study for Memory Care residents and the group has been growing in attendance steadily. One of the most popular endeavors Michael leads is a sing-along with residents in Memory Care. He credits the Providence Research and Education Institute for helping him understand dementia, and how best to work with residents. “I can’t say enough about the training I received,” he says. “It was comprehensive and highly beneficial, and it helped shape the programming I’m using.”
In addition to these singalongs, Michael spends time all over the entire Victorian Village campus. He leads activities such as Sunday afternoon Vesper services, Bible studies, prayer groups, lunch discussions, and more. “Working with the staff here is a joy,” he says. “It’s a positive working environment, and there’s a sense of teamwork,
a feeling that we’re all in this together. Serving elderly people requires a great deal of commitment, and what you’ll find here are very dedicated people.”
Chaplain Kooy certainly has been an encouragement to the residents and staff at Victorian Village. While much of his initial plans for the year had to change during the pandemic, he continues to offer spiritual support through opportunities for prayer and spiritual reflection, monthly communion services, weekly televised prayer services, and one-on-one prayer and counseling. We’re grateful that he and all of our chaplains are a part of our ministry at Providence, and that they have continued to serve with strength and compassion during the difficult year.