Hutchison praised for ministry work
When Integrace Bayleigh Chase, formerly William Hill Gardens Assisted Living Residence, sent word for a chaplain in 2001, John Earl Hutchison of Cordova answered the call.
EASTON — When Integrace Bayleigh Chase, formerly William Hill Gardens Assisted Living Residence, sent word for a chaplain in 2001, John Earl Hutchison of Cordova answered the call.
Though First Administrator, now volunteer, Linda Schwarten Evans requested help for just one Sunday and called on “the best person (she) could think of,” Hutchison has volunteered ever since, delivering more than 500 messages for 18 years as a lay minister.
“This was especially important to these senior citizens who were now in a new home, new surroundings, new building and who needed safety, security and to feel God’s presence,” Evans said.
Hutchison continued to give the message each month until December 2012. Upon retirement by other ministers, he was agreeable to cover every Sunday. On rare occasions when he was unavailable, he secured another spiritual messenger, such as Laura Swann, Scott Burke, the Rev. Bobby Davis, and John and Linda Evans, all from the Fair view Church of the Brethren in Cordova.
“He lines up these substitutes in advance, frequently checking with them to make sure that his flock will be tended to,” Evans said.
Hutchison and Evans were familiar from the Fairview Church of the Brethren in Cordova. To provide such sermons, Hutchison is unable to attend his home church alongside wife Mar y Ellen.
In recent years, Hutchison has delivered two messages each week in interfaith services — one to the general population and a second message to those who are memory impaired and live in the Alzheimer’s Wing.
“To relate to the two groups takes a special person, and John Hutchison is loved by all, especially the musician, Joe Holt, who plays beforehand,” Evans said.
Evans said Hutchison’s efforts also impact staff, families and even doctors who have a moment to hear his message as well.
Evans said she called on Hutchison in part due to his high degree of education and experience. Hutchison is originally from a small farm just outside Ridgely and graduated from Easton High School in 1955. He attended Bridgewater College and later University of Mar yland College Park, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and agricultural economics. Continuing
in his studies, Hutchison earned a master’s degree and finished with a doctoral degree in agricultural economics in 1975 and international development.
Hutchison volunteered to be drafted as a conscientious objector to war through the Church of the Brethren. He later was assigned to the European Program, living in Sardinia, Italy, helping settle refugees from the Spanish Civil War and World War II, helping them learn to farm, and become self-sufficient and part of the local culture.
After he was released from the selective service obligation, Hutchison visited other volunteer projects and locations in Italy, Germany and Greece, and spent about a month in the Middle East and other European countries.
Hutchison also is a former Talbot County Christmas tree farmer and does jail ministry, too.
“At Integrace Bayleigh Chase, we are honored to have people such as Mr. John Hutchison offer his gifts in service to our residents,” Director of Spiritual Life at Integrace Bayleigh Chase, the Rev. Marianne Ell said. “He has given many hours of ministry as a volunteer at the Gardens and has touched many lives of residents, families and staff.”
“We are grateful for his 18 years of service and ministry of compassion and grace proclaiming the good news to our people,” she said. “Volunteers like Mr. Hutchison
help us fulfill our vision of ‘igniting in all people the passion for meaningful living.’”
“I am convinced that God chose Mr. John Earl Hutchison for this special role in His plan for His mission,” Evans said, referencing Matthew 22:14, “for many are called, but few are chosen.”
“God asked, I said: ‘no, no, maybe’ then ‘yes,’” Hutchison said. “Now I feel especially blessed to be able to worship with the attendees of Integrace Bayleigh Chase. I hope God has also blessed them. Certainly they and the staff have been a real blessing to me ... They feel like family — God’s family uniting together to serve others and God.”
When Hutchison was asked how he has persevered in volunteering for such a lengthy duration of time, he said, “I’m here to help God.”
At the most recent service, Hutchison encouraged his audience to help others.
He gave an example stemming from his own life, when he recently drove by a man stuck in a muddy ditch on the side of the road and stopped to help him.
“I just couldn’t desert him,” he said. “(I felt) he was my brother and his wife was my sister.”
“Think about what God is doing in your life,” Hutchison said. “He has blessed you in many ways.”
John Earl Hutchison has devoted 18 years to volunteer ministry work for local residents in assisted living.