PALMETTO, GA – Someone has stated, “Retirement is when you stop living at work and begin to work at living.” Cecil and Ann Clegg have found a wonderful place to spend their retirement years and seem to be as happy as clams at high tide. They have chosen one of Georgia Baptists’ retirement communities to live out their golden years.
The Baptist Retirement Communities have excelled in “putting the heart” into independent senior living. There are three such communities that offer quality senior living in Georgia.
Clairmont Crest is located in the charming, revitalized city of Decatur, Ga., providing two urban five-story apartment buildings that are connected with lighted pathways through gardens, a fountain, and an in-ground swimming pool.
Hiawassee Park is a developing community in Hiawassee with 34 beautiful, spacious cottages nestled among the hills of North Georgia and home of Georgia’s highest peak, Brasstown Bald overlooking beautiful Lake Chatuga.
Palmetto Park is located an hour south of Atlanta in Palmetto, Ga., and is comprised of two facilities: Baptist Manor and Willis Cottages. Baptist Manor offers studio and one-bedroom apartments designed for independent living, but the Willis Cottages are nestled around a lake and give residents all the comforts of a private home without the worry of upkeep and maintenance.
In July 2020 Cecil Clegg, at age 77, and his wife, Ann moved into a cottage in Palmetto Park and are enjoying their retirement to the fullest degree. Clegg was a pastor in Mississippi prior to coming to Georgia and has pastored Central Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Heritage Baptist Church in Douglasville and served as interim pastor of several Georgia Baptist churches.
He reported, “As a retired Baptist pastor, I served as a transitional interim pastor for many years. After completely retiring from all pastoral responsibilities in September 2020, we decided to make a lifestyle and residential change. It was becoming more difficult to maintain our large, two-story home and expansive lawn; our children were concerned about our health; and the housing market was quite strong, so we started researching retirement villages in Georgia.
“Subsequently, we decided to visit Palmetto Park Senior Living Community; and after our initial visit with the manager, Matthew Galyon, in December 2020, our names were put on a waiting list for a two bed-room cottage. In July 2021 we finally moved into our 1200 square foot cottage with a front porch.”
Clegg cited several reasons for his decision to select the cottages. “First,” he explained, “the cottages offer independent living whereas the Manor provides more supervised living. The Manor houses the chapel, dining room administration offices, health and recreational services and common gathering spaces in addition to the various apartments. However, the cottages have a clubhouse that we can use.”
Since Clegg has exchanged the tension of the pastorate for the pension provided by Guidestone, he seems to be enjoying life to the fullest. Ann is enjoying it as well because many of her responsibilities have also been reduced. Palmetto Park provides meals. Manor residents are provided three meals a day and cottage residents receive one meal of their choice each day; and according to Cecil the meals are scrumptious.
It has been said that the best part about retirement is that you don’t have to worry about getting caught for doing nothing. At Palmetto Park the maintenance staff takes care of all housing needs including the changing of light bulbs.
If ever a pastor was congenial and social to the core, Cecil Clegg is that man, so he reports, “There are many opportunities for socialization and fellowship; and besides all the activities within the community there are excursions to dining and shopping venues.”
Palmetto Park offers opportunities for spiritual growth during the week. Clegg teaches a Sunday School class using LifeWay material; and Dr. Paul Mims, also a resident at the cottages and former pastor of churches in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, as well as Druid Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta and Cornerstone Baptist Church in Cherry Log, Ga., preaches the Word of God following the Bible Study each Sunday morning.
The Senior Living community also has a vesper service on Sunday afternoon, a Monday Bible study, and Wednesday Prayer Meeting in addition to counselling sessions. Clegg added, “There is also a GriefShare study and a Bible study for men on Tuesday and a Bible study for women on Thursday.”
Clegg summed up his experience at Palmetto Park by saying, “The quality of our staff is excellent! They believe that their work with senior adults is a ministry and not just a job. The atmosphere in our community is positive. There is an emphasis on caring for one another and for making life as enjoyable as possible. We feel like we are loved, cared for, and appreciated here!”
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