Honoring the past and investing in the future, a creative Foursquare Senior Living initiative is now opening its doors wider—and could be replicated elsewhere.
Foursquare-run residential complexes in California and Oregon have begun offering subsidized accommodation to qualifying retired Foursquare ministers. The two Foursquare Senior Living (FSL) centers, with homes suitable for couples and singles, have close ties with nearby Foursquare congregations, providing opportunity for ongoing ministry involvement.
Funded by Foursquare Foundation and overseen by Foursquare Financial Solutions, the developments meet two needs long held as important to the movement—providing homes for retired ministers in need, and generating income for future Foursquare ministry.
“This is kingdom work,” says Ken Swett, vice chairman of the Foursquare Foundation board and senior pastor of Modesto Foursquare Church in Modesto, Calif. “We can make a smart investment decision serving the financial big picture of the mission of The Foursquare Church while honoring Foursquare pastors and missionaries of retirement age into the future.”
Celebrating its two-year anniversary, Parkview Living is situated across the street from Angelus Temple in Los Angeles and has 75 units, while The Linden, located near Portland Foursquare Church in Portland, Ore., has 132 units and welcomed its first residents last year. Both are at or near capacity.
The stylish units are set in complexes with a wide range of facilities. Offering views of downtown Los Angeles, Parkview has a chapel, heated pool, fitness center and landscaped gardens. The Linden has a landscaped rooftop terrace, fitness room and community lounge.
Both centers have busy calendars, nurturing community opportunities for all residents. Social gatherings that best fit the unique local culture are led by ministry coordinators at each development. In addition, there are strong ties to each local Foursquare church. Both Greg Russinger, senior pastor of Portland Foursquare Church, and Clarence Olsson, who pastors seniors and serves as pastoral care director at Angelus Temple, have taken active roles in specific ministry opportunities.
Ministry workers at Parkview and The Linden aim to provide “culturally appropriate activities that build meaningful relationships and yield faith development,” says Rick Wulfestieg, community relations director for FSL. “Food in a neighbor-friendly atmosphere is the common denominator in developing community,” he adds. “Whether it is watching a Seahawks game together and eating chili, or a pool barbecue, residents are enjoying and growing in being together.”
There is also an outreach component to FSL, as both centers are open to non-Foursquare applicants, including what Rick calls a “general population” of non-Christians. “They are welcomed into a safe Christian environment, though,” he says, “and some who were not churchgoing have started to attend.”
One of the first to move into Parkview in 2012 was Jayne Wood, whose husband, David, was a third-generation Foursquare minister who worked on the Parkview project before his death in 2011. Jayne continues to work at the Foursquare central office near her new home.
“I have been very blessed to be a part of this community,” she says of her time at Parkview, where she has led a grief study course for some of the residents. “I have found a purpose, that the Lord really wants me there to do His work, and that has been very fulfilling.”
Now the two developments could become home to more retired Foursquare ministers with limited financial means. Through FSL, Foursquare Foundation is making rent subsidies available to prospective retirees on both properties. Those eligible are retired Foursquare ministers age 62 or more who have 20 years’ ministry service and whose annual income is below a certain level. Subsidies are based on available funds and available units.
Looking to the future, the senior living projects could be reproduced in other communities.
“The original idea was that these centers would have value both as an investment in the portfolio of Foursquare Foundation investments, and a point of practical service to The Foursquare Church through offering subsidies to retired Foursquare leaders in need,” says Joe Wainer, the Foundation’s executive director.
“There is a desire to explore the possibility of opening more centers around the country in the future,” he continues, “contingent upon the relative success of the two properties we have already initiated, the staff and oversight requirements, and other factors. The purpose of Foursquare Foundation remains to accelerate worldwide, interdenominational evangelism. I see these projects as providing additional income to serve the mission of The Foursquare Church, while honoring those who have served faithfully to that end.”
Adds Burt Smith, chairman of the Foundation board: “Hebrews 11:6 declares that the Lord is ‘a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him’ (NKJV). We have the honor in participating in His promise to those who have been and remain diligent in their service of the King.”
The FSL board comprises members of the Foursquare Foundation board, ratified by the denomination’s board of directors. Jeff Stewart chairs the FSL board and Foursquare’s investment committee.
Inquiries about Foursquare Senior Living should be directed to Rick Wulfestieg at Foursquare Senior Living, 1910 W. Sunset Blvd. #200, Los Angeles, CA 90026. Contact him at 213-361-6147.