Category: News

Knowing your Neighbors – by Resident Don Frost

When Gail and I moved into Epworth Villa from Arkansas over nine years ago, we knew no one here. We selected Epworth because we were impressed with the friendliness of the residents. We thought, “that’s the atmosphere we want to live in.”  And we have not been disappointed!

We found such an exciting variety in the residents, people from all walks of life; they were friendly, open, engaging, and down-to-earth solid citizens. Over the years we have come to know many residents and are amazed at so many lives well lived. Their impact on their profession, their community, and our society has been highly impressive. They are skilled in the medical field as well as having a rewarding career diving 18-wheelers across the country; they have taught at all levels in the educational system as well as having a wonderful and fulfilling life as homemakers. They have fought in world wars and served as nurses in our hospitals. They have ministered to their congregations and served on the mission field. As youth, they picked cotton with their family in southwest Oklahoma; as adults, they owned 1,000-acre wheat farms. As businessmen and women, they have started businesses, banks, and agencies. A few even played football for OU! They have been of the “Greatest Generation” as well as the one following. As a summary statement, they have been tine people to get to know. Let me share a few such residents.

We’ve had our War Heroes. As a WW II Marine pilot, he flew Corsair fighters in the South Pacific and closed out his life as a Prayer Warrior at Crossing Community Medical Clinic. You’ve heard of the Battle of the Bulge; how about being the soldier who drove the jeep for the forward observer, directing tanks to their forward positions? One of our past residents parachuted behind German lines on u-day at Normandy. As a Cold War warrior, we had a Vice Admiral who served as the commanding officer of nuclear submarines. We have several residents who served in Vietnam. Included in the group, is an individual who was the nurse on planes evacuating the wounded from Vietnam.

Then there is the school nurse who spent 20 years in the frigid temperatures at Fairbanks, Alaska. And missionaries; we have those who served on the mission field in Russia, Africa, and Taiwan. One resident I really came to love was a little old lady with a warm, beautiful smile and a sparkle in her eyes; she was from Cushing. In her younger days, she loved ballroom dancing; you could picture her out on the dance floor enjoying life to the fullest.

We had a lady here who was the epitome of grit and determination. What an example of how to live out one’s life! She was a champion collegiate swimmer having established the women’s swimming program at Duke University and later coached that team. She arrived at Epworth with a rare form of Parkinson’s disease. It was very debilitating, but she would swim and swim and swim. When we first knew her, she was doing 100 laps at our pool per day; then it dropped to 75; then 50; then 30; and even after she went to AL, they still rolled her to the pool. She swam until she was gone.

We had a lady who served as a switchboard operator in Kansas City during WWII. A young man she had yet to meet, was working as a travel agent, arranging train schedules for soldiers traveling around the nation. During that time frame, they met, fell in love, married and, when the war ended, they established a travel agency. Among other events, they arranged train charters for OU fans to travel to the annual OU-Texas football game.

We have our share of doctors and attorneys. Included in that group was a District Federal Judge appointed by President Carter. In the medical category, we’ve had hospital executives and one individual who was responsible for establishing the stroke center at Mercy Hospital; the center is recognized as one of the best in the country.

And the list goes on. Every new resident brings a life full of adventure and stories; some beautiful; others tragic; some tales that make your head spin; and others who have just lived the enjoyable simple life our Lord has given them.

These men and women, and many more, have served to enrich our lives at Epworth Villa. With enough “digging”, you too can discover and enjoy the “Gems of Life” who live here and are your neighbors!

A More Excellent Way – Rev. Jimette McLean

We invite you to head over to our YouTube channel and watch Resident Rev. Jimette Rose McLean’s sermon from Vespers last Thursday. Epworth Villa is so blessed to have such vibrant, enthusiastic, talented residents such as Jimette. She is truly a gift!

Get ready to be moved and have some laughs. We guarantee this will be the best 16 minutes of your day! Enjoy!

#joyinthemorning #epworthvilla #independentliving #vespers #lifeplan #okc #retirementcommunity #ThrivingTogether

Neighbors Who Stitch

“Neighbors Who Knit” was organized by Chaplain Laura Glover and a small group of Epworth Villa residents in the spring of 2021 as an offshoot of the Religions Life Committee. As there were members of the group who preferred to crochet or do machine quilting, the name of the group was changed to “Neighbors Who Stitch”.

Every Tuesday evening, the group gathers in one of the Epworth Villa Living Rooms from 6:30-8:00 for a time of fellowship and prayer, specifically for special needs throughout the Epworth Community. The group is continuously growing in number. Those who join, don’t always participate in stitching, but come for the fellowship and meet new friends.

The initial plan of the group was to create items signifying prayer, such as Prayer Shawls, Pocket Prayer Shawls, Prayer Scarves, and Prayer Squares, as well as other items that can be distributed as tokens of prayer and concern. The stitchers recently added lap pads, fidget pads, hats and scarves. The hats and scarves were specifically for Long Term Care residents to wear when seeing Christmas lights and decorations.

Additionally, group members often bring in the projects they continue to make for their church, Infant Crisis Services, Children’s Hospital, and the Hope Pregnancy Center. As a special project, a prayer square was presented to each of the teachers and staff at Epworth villa’s new neighbor, Scissortail Elementary School. Rice Bag Neck Warmers (or coolers) were also assembled by the group. Stitchers gathered in the Epworth Villa quilting room to make these for every Epworth Villa employee.

A compilation of projects for 2022 is as follows:  


Neighbors who Stitch accept donations of yarn. Questions about attendance at the group’s gatherings can be directed to Chaplain Laura Glover at 405-752-1200.

Epworth Villa Celebrates 20 years at Brill Chapel

This isn’t just a Sunday chapel. This is an everyday chapel for people that live here. When I walk by this chapel, I just seem to be uplifted. This chapel is a highlight in our lives and provides a season of contentment in our retirement years. -Rev. Marilyn Williams, Chair, Religious Life Committee

The 20th Anniversary Celebration of Brill Chapel at Epworth Villa was celebrated on November 10, 2022. A special vespers service was held that afternoon followed by a reception in the Redbud Room at Epworth Villa. Rev. Laura Glover, who is lovingly known as Pastor Laura in the Epworth community, led the recommitment service. Glover was joined by Rev. Dwight Magnus, Associate Chaplain. In attendance were residents, board members, employees, friends of Epworth Villa, and previous chaplains.

Rev. Margaret North, Rev. Burrell McNaught, and Rev. Gene Spillman — all Epworth Villa residents and choir members — opened the service with the Call to Worship, Declaration of Purpose, and Prayer.

Ron Kelly, Epworth Villa CEO, greeted the congregation and shared a greeting and welcome and was followed by Dr. Steve Ford, Epworth Villa Board Member. Ford emotionally shared how his mother had lived at Epworth Villa for 11 years and passed away on a Sunday morning in 2018. He went on to share how his family hadn’t arrived yet after his mother passed, so he decided to go to Sunday School in Brill Chapel. Ford said that he was caught off guard by a wave of emotion. He joked that he did not remember the lesson that day, but emphatically remembered the care, the love, and the compassion that he felt in that very room – Brill Chapel — as one of his mother’s friends took him by the hand and showered him with love. Ford closed by saying that he was looking forward to more opportunities where love and compassion would be shared in Brill Chapel and throughout the Epworth community.

Resident and Chair of the Religious Life Committee, Rev. Marilyn Williams, shared how robust and vital the religious life is at Epworth Villa and how it is continuing to grow to meet the needs of Epworth’s diverse and ecumenical community. She also shared many of the wonderful new additions to Brill Chapel that have happened in just the last year due to the generosity of residents. Those additions include a new prayer garden adjacent to the Chapel, new screens for worship along with improved audio/visual equipment, beautiful new paraments, new choir robes, and a spectacular new Steinway grand piano. Epworth Villa residents Rev. Helen Taylor, Rev. Jimette McLean, and Rev. Jarrell Tyson also participated in the rededication with the Affirmation of Faith and a reading of the Word.

In this Very Room was beautifully performed by the Villa Voices under the direction of Choir Director Ginger Howl. This song was featured 20 years ago when Brill chapel was opened. Howl and Glover emphasized the significance of including the song in the service. Accompanying the choir were musicians Wes Howl, Rosalyn Kalmar, and Meg Hebblethwaite – all residents of Epworth Villa.

Also bringing greetings and a message on behalf of Bishop Jimmy Nunn and the OK Annual Conference was Rev. Derrek Belase. Belase shared how at one time he was scheduled to preach at a Vespers service in Brill Chapel. As he walked in the doors of Brill Chapel, he received an emergency call that his mother-in-law’s heart had stopped, and she was undergoing emergency surgery, so he needed to get back to the hospital immediately. Belase goes on to say that he handed off his sermon to Lisa Crone, then Chaplain, and said, “The people in that room are the only people in my life that know the depth of prayer that my family needs in this moment.” Belase tearfully addressed and pointed at the congregation and said “You all. You all prayed for someone that you didn’t even know…that day…. Just this community of people that I didn’t even know, who were interceding – as the choir just sang – In this Very Room.”  He continued garnering laughter from the congregation, “My mother-in-law is alive. Not in the metaphorical, pastoral sense. She’s alive! She comes to my house. She plays with her granddaughters. She doesn’t leave on schedule because, in this very room, you all prayed!” Belase concluded, “And every day, I am thankful for you for what you did. Because I know that you do it over and over again. For 20 years this has been the space for the gathering of the faithful to come and be the people of God.”

The Villa Voices sang Come Build a Church followed by a prayer of rededication led by resident Rev. Larry Becker followed by the Benediction given by Rev. Laura Glover. She prayed that each person was recommitted to go forth into the world, redeemed and a blessing to all that they meet. With outstretched arms, Glover concluded with “God loves you, and there is nothing you can do about it. But, with God’s love, there is nothing that you and all of us together cannot do.”