Over thirty years ago, Park of the Palms, Inc., started as an assembly Bible Conference Grounds located on 25 acres in north central Florida. As the conferences progressed, and individuals from across the country visited, they became interested in retiring to the lovely climate of the area. So developed the Park of the Palms Christian Retirement and Assisted Living Facility of today. A feature of the Park, enjoyed by many guests, is the beautiful Gilbert Lodge. Each room is fitted out with a private bath and many other amenities
One of the attractions of the area, for retirees, is the pastoral location and close proximity to premier medical care. It is situated an hour south-east of the world-famous Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, and only thirty-five minutes northwest of the Shands University of Florida Hospital in Gainesville which is renowned for its heart and orthopaedic teams. The property is near to a paved walking/bike trail – currently thirty miles long, with plans for expansion from St. Augustine (the nation’s oldest city) to Lake City. Recently an adjoining spur was added to provide access from the Park to the awardwinning Gold Head State Park (just seven miles from Park of the Palms).
2) Current Ministry
The mission of Park of the Palms, Inc. is to provide a community of caring where adults in their fully mature state can continue to participate in activities that stimulate them spiritually, physically and emotionally so as to find fulfilment in their final years.
Retiring believers from around N. America find the Park a place of gracious living allowing use of independent apartments that provide contemporary accommodation and access to high-speed internet. As aging and health issues become more evident, an Assisted Living Facility is available that leads to a higher level of care referred to as Extended Congregate Care in the state of Florida.
The Park offers a LifeLease that provides a personal unit for residence during independent years and then automatic entrance into the Assisted Living Complex when necessary. Among the available services for independent and assisted living health care is on-site therapy, an in-house doctor service, a fitness centre, 24/7 on-call nursing assistance, a swimming pool and shuffleboard court as well as dining in the Weir Dining Room overlooking Lake Brooklyn. More services are planned for the future. A major building renovation programme began in 2005 and continues.
Throughout the year, believers fellowship around the word in specialized sessions for different interest groups, then enjoy the normal weekly meetings in the Chapel. Beginning in mid-February, week-long Bible conferences with well-known speakers are an attraction for residents as well as the ‘snowbirds’ who enjoy spending winter in Florida. Schedules of the speakers are available at www.parkofthepalms.org.
Accommodation may be reserved in the Gilbert Lodge and all guests enjoy the cuisine at various venues throughout the Conference season. The plenary sessions are convened at the on-grounds assembly Chapel, and breakout sessions are held in the lakeside Mojonnier Library and other rooms.
The renovation of all independent living units is under way and expected to be completed in six years. An expansion plan is also under way to increase the capacity of the Assisted Living Facility, doubling the size and providing care for those suffering from ‘memory disabilities’. The incidence of memory-related diseases in the current retiree cohort group is increasing and will require a growth in the resources assigned to this need. Health services, in addition to those identified above, are constantly evaluated to determine applicability and where appropriate, are added to the service line. As we look to the return of the Lord, we pray it may be today yet in the meantime we plan and work vigorously to improve the Park for this generation of retirees.
Should you find yourself in the Keystone Heights area do call in to see us, and to fellowship with the assembly. You are of course welcome to attend the conferences. For further information go to www.parkofthepalms.org
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