A rent collector. Normally, someone folks avoid or only see as a necessary part of the renting process. But what if you were going through a crisis? What if your spouse or brother or daughter had received a medical diagnosis, you were new to a big city, and you knew no one? The rent collectors at Palmer Place Apartments are so much more than people who pick up checks. They are a comforting face, a willing ear, a resource. Two of these caring people are Palmer parishioners Frances Vonk and Norma Beazley.
“I respect and admire the tenants so much,” says Frances, who joined the Palmer Place Apartments ministry six years ago, first as a sub for someone on leave and then as the lead rent collector. “They have been thrown an unbelievable curveball and are all dealing with it and its ramifications the best they know how. I listen to these wonderful people and I play a small role in providing some predictability in their unpredictable lives.”
“I am amazed at their bravery, faith, and belief in the face of adversity,” says Norma, who has been a part of this ministry for more than 10 years. “Sometimes the residents just want someone to sit and listen to them. A friendly face that has time for them at that moment.”
While both Frances and Norma are a comfort to others, they, too, are touched by this ministry. Frances knew she would enjoy the work of preparing receipts, knocking on doors, and collecting rent; Norma has a background in accounting and in rental properties. But they each discovered so much more beyond the rent checks. Norma says that, through this ministry, she has found a nurturing side to herself that she didn’t know existed. Frances says that she found she not only enjoyed but loved interacting with the people she encountered.
It is the giving and receiving that makes this ministry so rewarding and why Frances and Norma are excited to talk about it even after all of these years. “I am better for having known each and every resident,” concludes Frances.