A retired minister may yet perform a great service for God and his fellow men. One such instance is the case of C. E. Overstreet, of the Petersburg, Virginia, church.
About six years ago, when the local ministerial union was requested to sponsor a hospital chaplain, our brother volunteered his services. The union gladly accepted his offer to serve, and he was appointed chaplain of the Petersburg General Hospital, a large new plant of 334 beds.
In charge of the religious services, the chaplain is free to choose his days for work. His Sunday morning chapel service affords an opportunity for the recuperating patients to worship together.
Most of the physicians of the area are acquainted with Chaplain Overstreet. They appreciate his sense of humor and often invite him to slip into a room to cheer up a despondent patient.
Through the ministerial union, the churches of the city are asked to contribute to the very modest salary. This is done by a "schedule of askings," the amount for each congregation being determined by their financial status.
The ministers of the city have so enthusiastically endorsed the entire program that the hospital chaplain is given a weekly radio broadcast in order to widen his ministry to the sick.
All literature of a religious nature coming into the hospital is first screened through the chaplain's office before being distributed. Of course, the office maintains current copies of These Times and Steps to Christ, which are supplied by the local church.
Passing through the city are two main north-and-south routes. Hence this hospital serves many travelers, and our brother meets people from many States and Canada.
This unique service creates lasting good will for our church in the community, as there are few times in one's life when he is more susceptible to religious impressions than when he is ill. At such times Christ is presented as a compassionate, loving Saviour.
What else does this seventy-two-year-old chaplain do? He is local elder of the church, teaches a Sabbath school class, and is the treasurer of the church. In his spare time he cares for his garden and yard, besides assisting his wife in caring for older relatives at home, one of whom is twenty years his senior. He makes his three-mile journey to the hospital on foot several mornings each week and is known as one of the "younger" older men of his city.