Spotlight on Philanthropy – Stories of Hope – Third Edition

Dear Supporters & Friends,

One good thing about a crisis is that it brings into sharp focus what is truly important in life. In the midst of this pandemic, the importance of the Messiah Lifeways® mission has been crystal clear. Each decision has been and continues to be made from the lens of responsibly enhancing the lives of older adults with Christ-like love. And though it has been a difficult season, it is also clear that our community is tightly knit together in the bonds of that Christ-like love.

Many members of our community have looked for new ways to help their neighbors and support our ministry during this challenging time. Donors have provided special gifts of more than $110,000 in just the last few weeks – $80,000 to recognize and thank team members and $30,000 to help us meet the increased costs we are experiencing as this crisis unfolds. And a number of volunteers are continuing to spread joy and hope even though many of our typical volunteer opportunities are temporarily suspended. 

In this week’s edition of Spotlight on Philanthropy – “Stories of Hope,” we shine the spotlight on a few of the donors and volunteers who brighten our days through their creativity and generosity. In good times and in hard times, strong communities come together to uphold, bless, and encourage one another. The strength of our community is evident now more than ever.

With gratitude and hope,

Rachel Pease
Senior Director of Development




A Generous Gift of Gratitude

Imagine this. It’s about 9:00 on a Sunday evening, and you’ve just gotten a phone call – your mother, a resident at Messiah Lifeways at Messiah Village, has been taken to the hospital via ambulance. You can’t rush to the hospital to be by her side because of current visitation restrictions, and you don’t know if she will be ok. How would you feel?

This exact scenario recently happened to a family member of a current resident, and she credits the nursing team at Messiah Village for helping her through a dark night. In a letter of gratitude to Curt Stutzman, she shared words of thanks praising the nursing team for keeping her calm and optimistic, for providing a detailed update at 3:00 am when the hospital staff couldn’t be reached, for ensuring that post-hospital virtual care was coordinated efficiently, and for offering love and compassion throughout a very stressful situation.

In gratitude for the exceptional care she and her mother received, this anonymous donor provided a $10,000 gift to help meet our current needs. She said, “I know that Messiah has extended and enriched my mother’s life and given me the greatest gift of all – more time with her. In honor of the wonderful individuals named above, please use the enclosed donation wherever you determine it will do the most good.”

It is our privilege to walk with residents and family members during their most challenging days, and we are grateful for those who “pay it forward” to in turn help others.

Continuing Her Ministry – Virtually

Lucy Mellinger was heartbroken when volunteer activities were suspended in Village Center. A familiar face in the nursing neighborhoods, Lucy is accustomed to spending hours each week visiting residents in nursing and in enhanced living, singing old familiar hymns accompanied by her autoharp, and offering music on MVTV, our internal TV channel.

Lucy knew she had to keep sharing God’s love and light with residents in Village Center, so she has figured out virtual ways to make that happen. For residents who are able to participate in phone calls, Lucy calls to check in, gauges how the resident is feeling emotionally that day, and sings songs of comfort and encouragement by using speakerphone and propping her phone up on her music stand (as seen in the included photo).

Lucy has also recorded a virtual “hymn sing” that will be broadcast on MVTV for residents in nursing, many of whom aren’t able to talk with her on the phone. It is her hope these will be shared with some of her “regulars” who she dearly loves and misses.

In this season of waiting, Lucy encourages us to take heart and reflect on the words of Psalm 36: 5-9, which paint a beautiful picture of God’s love for us. 

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

Like Lucy, may we each find ways to spread hope and healing in the midst of our current circumstances.

Making our Campus a Beautiful, Friendly Place

There is something special about Messiah Village. You feel it when you walk down the sidewalk and exchange a friendly hello, or when you stop to take in the beauty of the meticulously-kept grounds. Even in the midst of a pandemic, volunteers continue to find ways to make our campus homelike and joyful.

Marilyn Smith and Janet Wolgemuth

If you have never taken a moment to enjoy the loveliness of the fence lines on either side of Locust Lane, you are truly missing out! Two residents, Marilyn Smith (pictured) and Janet Wolgemuth, spend countless hours keeping their respective sides of the Lane beautiful. Their styles are quite different, but both sides remain picture perfect thanks to the time they devote to planting, weeding, and pruning each spring and summer. 

Larry Vittone

Larry Vittone, a retired band director known on campus for the fun sing-a-longs he leads in the Laurel and Asper neighborhoods, recently took his musical talents in a different direction. Since he can’t visit Village Center right now, he played his accordion and serenaded Residential Living residents who came to Village Square to pick up their mail. Larry definitely lifted some spirits and made residents and team members smile with this fun idea!

Carole Fatzinger

Anyone who has driven or walked by the Fatzinger’s cottage on Messiah Circle has noticed that Carole has quite the knack for creating a beautiful outdoor space. As newer Messiah Village residents, Carole and Fred got involved right away, enjoying the amenities and volunteering. Although they miss using the pool and look forward to visitation restrictions being lifted, Carole in particular has stayed busy by helping the Grounds Crew with weeding around campus. “It makes me happy to be outside doing something to help,” Carole says.

Want to spread love and light? Consider a gift to our ministry to help us continue to live out our mission of responsibly enhancing the lives of older adults with Christ-like love. To do so, visit or send your check to Messiah Lifeways, Office of Donor & Volunteer Development, 100 Mt. Allen Dr, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055. Contact me at with any questions or to suggest a future “Story of Hope.”

Rachel Pease

Rachel Pease

Rachel Pease is the Director of Development at Messiah Lifeways. She is a dynamic, passionate, and dedicated development professional who came to Messiah Lifeways with sixteen years of experience in higher education. For the first ten years of her career, Rachel focused on annual giving and development communication at the Shippensburg University Foundation and at Messiah College. Since 2011, Rachel has focused on working with donors one-on-one to skillfully and thoughtfully match their philanthropic interests and passions with organizational initiatives - first at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, MD and then at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. At Messiah Lifeways, Rachel strives to inspire philanthropic gifts in support of all of our service lines and works with donors to plan meaningful gifts of time, talent, and treasure. Rachel has been married to her husband, Nathan, since 1999 and they have two daughters, Erika and Elaina. The Pease family lives in Dillsburg and are members of the Dillsburg Brethren in Christ Church.