Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

National Clergy Appreciation Day is celebrated annually on the second Sunday in October. It’s a chance to let the men and women of the “cloth” know how much we appreciate their emotional, motivational and spiritual support throughout the year. Often, it’s their comfort and encouragement that helps us endure the challenges of daily living. And sometimes, one can find a true friend among these spiritual advisors.

“Sparked by a suggestion from one of our residents, East Ridge decided to have residents invite their favorite clergy to a lunch gathering to celebrate National Clergy Appreciation Day,” said Mary Scott Russell, the community’s director of marketing. “The response was heart-warming and one of the community’s dining rooms was filled with the buzz of cordial conversation.”

The clergy who attended included those from a comprehensive list of denominations. Priests, ministers and rabbis from various congregations throughout the Miami area met and shared ideas, news and conversation with residents. Some guests enjoyed a brief tour of the 76-acre community, which has been serving its residents for over 50 years.

Residents and their clerical friends were offered a superb lunch menu, custom-prepared by the East Ridge culinary team under the direction of Executive Chef Stan Hodes. He comes to this post from Miami’s Baptist Hospital, following an extensive background in dining services in healthcare, hospitality and cruise ship settings. He made the rounds of the tables during the lunch and greeted residents and guests with tales of his culinary adventures.

This celebratory lunch fits seamlessly with the overall mission of East Ridge, whose management and staff strive to take excellent care of the health, nutrition, social and spiritual needs of residents. It afforded everyone the chance to relax and perhaps get to know one another in a more congenial setting than might usually occur with occasional encounters at their places of worship. It also gave residents a window into the spiritual backgrounds of some of their fellow residents, and with that, an opportunity to get to know their friends within the community on a deeper level.

“We were delighted with the turnout,” said Russell. “Based on the great success of our experience this year, we plan to make this a recurring event.”

East Ridge at Cutler Bay is Miami-Dade County’s only true life care retirement community. The not-for-profit community draws from the neighborhood charm of suburban Cutler Bay and the vibrancy of Miami in a lush tropical setting of 76 acres, located at 19301 S.W. 87th Avenue.  The community offers a continuum of care including independent and assisted living residence homes in a true neighborhood setting, respite and skilled nursing care, and rehabilitation services available within Three Palms Health Center.  For more infor mation or to schedule a tour, please call (305) 256-3564 visit