March 24

A Covenant of Love: Aging Together in Servant Branch

The family room in Servant Branch's center at River Ridge provides a congenial site for get-togethers such as the senior luncheon.

by Elizabeth Pease

Photos: Bob Cunningham, Photoresource

I’m sitting in the living room of Jack and Florence Wright (Servant Branch), in a sunny open-plan apartment in Bloomington, part of a senior living cooperative. Florence is telling me about the moment in 1977 when she and Jack put their home in Kennewick, WA, up for sale. Jack was one of the leaders in the People of Faith prayer group, and several of the members felt called to move to a city with a covenant community. They had seven children, and no certain plan for a job for Jack, but they made the decision that their destination would be the Twin Cities, where they would join the Servants of the Lord community (later Servant Branch), and their house sold within a week.

Seven years after that move, Jack, then 45, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. When he regained consciousness, he called Florence by her maiden name and was surprised to learn that they had children. Florence remembers Jack’s long process of relearning not just
names but how to walk. Despite all this, the Wrights lived relatively independently until the fall of 2015, when Jack’s memory began to worsen. “If he’d start something, he couldn’t finish it because he couldn’t remember what he was doing,” Florence told me. It was time to move.
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Two couples in the Tampa branch, Fred and Sue Smith and Ed and Josette Konczeski, have created an attractive space for common life between their homes.