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Ministry of Presence

Posted on Friday, September 10th, 2010.

When I tell people that I work for StoryCorps, many people mention a parent or grandparent they wish they had interviewed before they passed, which is one of the many reasons we are so excited that we’re partnering with Ruth and Naomi Senior Outreach in Birmingham, AL.

Chaplains Mary McQueen Porter and Lynn Bledsoe visit isolated elders to sing, play harp, and provide human and canine companionship. In their own way, they exemplify the StoryCorps motto, “listening as an act of love.”

Mary and Lynn are now incorporating StoryCorps interviews into their senior outreach visits. To date, they have recorded over a dozen interviews with elders using a StoryKit.

StoryKits are portable packages that include professional recording equipment and a User’s Guide to record interviews in the comfort of your own home. Individuals can rent a StoryKit for a week and we also loan StoryKits to community organizations to do their own recordings.

In February, they interviewed New Beacon Hospice patient, Mildred Oyston, and her son Bill. 90-year-old Mildred talked about serving her country during World War II as a riveter on a B-17 Bomber.

Six weeks after the interview, Mildred passed away. The family said it meant a lot to them to have the recording to share as they remembered, celebrated, and mourned.

5 Responses to “Ministry of Presence”

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  • Thank you for shareing this post. I often think of the many short stories my grandmother told me growing up and it makes me wish I documented them or at least a few. I really wish I had the opprutunity to interview her because she was truly amaizing!

    Comment from Kayla Whittington on November 6, 2010 at 1:23 am - Reply to this Comment
  • That’s great. Thank you for sharing this post. Am sure that is a great way of sharing memories and remembering things once that person is gone to a better place.

    Comment from Ibrahim Sheshtawy on October 2, 2010 at 3:14 am - Reply to this Comment
  • It’s really blessed to have all of my grand parents alive but I know that some day they’ll be gone and ths story makes me realize that I got to make the best out of the time that I have left with them

    Comment from Federico Rocha on October 1, 2010 at 11:30 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • That’s really wonderful. I was lucky enough to interview my mother when the StoryCorps folks visited my city last year, and it’s an experience that I cherish. I’m also so happy to have a recording of her, and some of her amazing stories, for my children.

    Comment from Nick Shein on September 13, 2010 at 8:40 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Thank you Amanda for this post! Not only did I learn what a “zine” (zeen) is….. We are all going to follow & utilize this incredible focus / ministry for a diverse population world! ( Twitter @His_Sonshine … & our blog: )

    Comment from His Sonshine on September 12, 2010 at 9:14 pm - Reply to this Comment

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