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Staff Spotlight: Reverend Lucy Turner

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date December 03, 2020

We have some very exciting news here at Kirkwood! Our wonderful chaplain Reverend Richard Hanna is stepping back to part time in order to spend more time with his family, so we have Reverend Lucy Turner from IPC coming to lead us in those hours of his absence. We are so delighted for her to join the ministry team at Kirkwood by the River and pleased that her help will allow Reverend Hanna to spend more time with his children and grandchildren. I would like to introduce you all to Reverend Turner and let her share a little about herself with you!

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

“I grew up in a large family in Gulfport, MS, in a time so many of us appreciate.  My mother let her six children roam our immediate neighborhood and beyond on our bicycles from morning until dusk.  We could cross the street in front of our house and enjoy the beach with equal freedom.  In hind sight, I see that what we called freedom, she might have called sanity!  I received by BA from Agnes Scott College, my MBA from the University of Southern Mississippi and my Masters of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian seminary in Decatur, GA.  Prior to entering seminary, I worked in business and banking for 10 years.

I served two churches in North Carolina before I received a call from Independent Presbyterian Church  (IPC) in Birmingham to serve as the Associate Pastor for Congregational Care and Counseling.  It had been my hope that at some point in my ministry I would have the opportunity to focus on pastoral care at a large congregation where such specialized positions are normally found.   As is so often true of God’s way of working, my call to IPC came about in a slightly unusual way and not without some resistance on my part.  However, I quickly came to see my call to serve there as being truly the will of God.  For the first twelve years of my ministry I was the Director of Congregational Care and Counseling; for the last four years I was the Executive Associate Pastor and oversaw many administrative functions as well as stewardship and development for the church and the IPC Foundation.”

What is your new role at Kirkwood?

“I have joined the Rev. Richard Hanna in the chaplain’s ministry.  Richard and I talked several times during the last few years about sharing the chaplain’s position when we were both ready to step back from full-time ministry.  Fortunately for me, Richard was ready to make that change when I decided to retire from IPC.  Fortunately for both of us, Chad Carter and the Kirkwood Board of Directors agreed that such a partnership in ministry would be good for Kirkwood.”

What are you most excited about for your new role?

“One of the blessings for me in coming to Kirkwood is that I can return to my first love in ministry: pastoral care.  While I am not a licensed therapist, I do have 30 years’ experience caring for the spiritual needs of men and women in many, many different circumstances and life situations.”

What is your favorite thing about Kirkwood?

“My favorite thing about Kirkwood comes as a bit of a surprise to me and may to you: it is an ecumenical community.  I have been a Presbyterian all of my life.  I have served only Presbyterian churches.  Coming to Kirkwood means thinking about Biblical interpretation, theology, doctrine, worship and the sacraments from a new frame of reference.  Before I write a sentence in a sermon and form a thought for a prayer, I now think about the members of the community who will hear my words, perhaps, from a different perspective than mine.  Paul’s declaration in Galatians 3:28 has new meaning for me, ‘There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Jesus Christ.'”

If you could sit down and have dinner with anyone in the world who would it be?

“There is a regular column in the NY Times Book section which I love to read called, “By the Book.”  The columnist asks the featured author to name three people with whom he/she would like to have dinner so I am going to take the liberty of selecting three.  The first thought that came to mind was having dinner again with three members of my family who have died: my mother, father and a younger sister.  Then I thought about politics and wondered what it would be like to overhear the dinner conversation of Madeleine Albright, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Margaret Thatcher.  Or mystery writers Louis Penny, Agatha Christie and Jacqueline Winspear.  In the end, though, I decided to stick with family; we have a lot to catch up on!”

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The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents