For the past 18 months my husband and I have taken advantage of a free walking program offered at Ascension Lutheran Church in Kansas City, MO. Our walking together began as a result of my husband having had surgery. In order for him to more easily get back in shape, I suggested the option of walking to him at this church. When he agreed our walking agenda began. Thankfully, we have been doing it on a consistent basis 3 times a week. This is an additional bonus to my already established exercise regiment.
Outside of the church in clear view of all to see is a large red and white banner that invites you to walk at their facility every weekday from 7-10 in the morning. Ample parking is provided in the front and side parking lots. Sufficient spaces for those needing handicap parking are readily available too.
I had been told by another person that this walking program started as a result of a local mall suspending this activity. They went out of business. Walkers who had frequented the mall were left stranded. Not having a place to go, Ascension Lutheran opened its doors to provide this service to these walkers and to the general public.
The walking takes place in the Life Center where a lot of the church events happen. A huge gym which also serves as a place for basketball games is very clean inside. The flooring is comfortable on the feet.
Most of the patrons are senior citizens and retirees. Recently we met a man who had just celebrated his 95th birthday. But he was still walking. It is a pleasant and non-threatening atmosphere. Some of the patrons come with their walking canes and walkers to get some much needed exercise. No doubt some of the participants are there because they have been directed by their doctors to become involved in some type of physical activity. Those recovering from heart attacks and strokes find this a reasonable alternative to getting back in shape. Some have had the unfortunate experience of having lost a spouse. This gives them a sense of belonging with peers of their own age and similar interests. It is quite obvious that some simply use this as a social outlet, while making new friends and fellowshipping with their old ones. Some come because they are desperately trying to prevent health hardships that their parents may have gone through years before. By providing this service free, it assists those on very limited incomes with no additional costs to think of.
As you walk you notice several Bible verses and positive sayings posted around the gym. These help in giving you that burst of encouragement as you attempt to reach your walking goals. The gym is always clean and well maintained. In the summer they have fans on to prevent heat exhaustion. Soft music plays in the background for your enjoyment. A chart is displayed to see how many laps you have to walk to get to ¼, ½, or 1 mile. They provide free snacks and water. Many of the walkers stay after and converse with each other at tables that have strategically been placed inside the gym.
It is apparent that Ascension Lutheran Church is community and ministry-minded as they also support missions, conduct food drives and collect food, clothing and household goods for those in need.
I for one am appreciative that they have willingly and selflessly opened their doors.
The staff members are very pleasant and cordial. They provide ministry with a smile. They don’t just “talk the talk”. They “walk the walk”.
Ascension Lutheran Church is located at 4900 Blue Ridge Blvd. in Kansas City, MO. Their phone number is 816-358-1919. You might want to check out their website for more information on their church at www.ascensionlutherankc.org.