By Amanda Parrish
In a life often run dry by constant activity, the pressures of decisions, disappointments, anger and regret, many seek a chance to pause and breathe.
Giving participants this chance is part of the heart of The Cove. Challenging guests to relax, refresh and renew while growing and learning is an important part of ministry. This challenge lives within the hearts of staff members and volunteers. Beyond the greeting smiles, lies a heart of more than mere politeness. All incoming groups have been cared for long before entering the gates at the bottom of the mountain. Fully aware of life’s many challenges and difficulties, the staff and volunteers at The Cove commit to praying and providing for guests before their arrival and during their stay.
Nearly every department of The Cove, from office staff to house cleaning, has determined to care not only for the physical needs of the participants, but also the core spiritual needs.
To the approximately 20 housekeepers charged with cleaning the inns and cabins, scrubbing bathrooms and changing sheets is not just a necessary duty. Their goal is to provide a restful environment, relieving the guests of pressures and worries, allowing them the space to hear God.
“We are here to take the cares of the world away so they can focus on the Lord,” Tina McGuinn, who oversees lodging and housekeeping, said. “That’s our dearest ministry.”
Cleaning the sinks and dusting the furniture, these precious women dedicate much of their time praying for the participants. The housekeepers pray for the encouragement, the refreshment and the healing of the guests. They pray the teaching and quiet time will remain with the participants and be incorporated into life as they return home. They pray for an outpouring of joy, peace and rest. Their purpose does not lie solely in cleaning, but ministering in the simplest way. The staff’s desire is to help relieve the pressures of the world, allowing guests to be free to move toward the heart of God.
Deanna Sales, food service coordinator at The Cove, said the dining room staff prays for the guests as well. While greeting participants and serving their tables, the staff pray for the needs of the guests. Familiar with life’s struggles, each staff member can sympathize with the need for refreshment and a friendly, encouraging smile.
Before each meal, the dining room workers gather together, grasp hands and take a moment to share needs. Prayers for the refreshment of each guest entering the dining room, strength for the staff and peace for those “closest to eternity,” fills the small circle before the meal rush begins.
Kay Whithington, volunteer coordinator for the Prayer Intercessors at The Cove, also seeks to minister to guests and staff. “Our hope is to be a source of encouragement,” Whittington said.
This team of volunteers prays consistently for the staff and participants of The Cove. Walking about the grounds, meeting in the chapel and praying about the needs and concerns of all on campus is part of their ministry.
Office staff also grasps the opportunity to pray for the guests. Receiving a list of seminar participant’s names, each member of the staff prays for the group and for the individuals.
The importance of praying and caring resonates with many guests. Some face the difficulties of life and find strength to continue and others worn thin find encouragement to begin again. This is a ministry of caring ingrained into the heart and history of The Cove.