“God is still interested in Main Street Ministries and I am at ease with letting go,” she said Friday.
Bookless said part of the plan for MSM is to become even more of a community, with families moving ahead as a team and feeling common bonds.
For example, women with children can talk about the decisions they made and learn from one another.
It would be difficult for a single person without children to relate to those kinds of problems, she said.
“We keep MSM for women with children, and they normally stay from one to two years,” Bookless said. “Some may or may not have ever been married.
“Some don’t stay, though, because they don’t keep their end of the bargain.”
Those who want to stay, she said, participate in a program that requires a variety of things.
One part of the program is “Celebrate Recovery,” which is a Christian 12-step program, different from Alcoholics Anonymous or other drug addiction meetings.
Other requirements include going to church somewhere, doing a chore and being honest about their lives.
Bookless came to MSM the first time in 1997 and stayed until 2002.
In the interim, she said she moved to the small house next door to MSM and worked in medical records at Memorial Hospital in McPherson.
She came back in 2004, signing a five-year contract, but stayed an extra year.
Bookless said she has seen a lot of staff come and go, and sometimes she has been the staff.
“Sometimes it was too much,” she said, “working 24/7 with anything that could happen.”
Emergencies could range from a mother getting locked out of their apartment to getting a call that someone’s child was out of control.
Looking back, though, Bookless said the job may have been demanding, but overall it was rewarding. “I came into (the work) willingly,” she said. “I have had rich experiences and formed many relationships. God has taught me.”
In her 11 years, Bookless thinks she has been privileged to work with 40 to 50 families.
She is also grateful for Dale Nuss, chairman of the MSM board, who has been significantly involved with and dedicated to the mission.
“When the new team comes in,” Bookless said, “they will be expecting more (from families), but will be delivering more, too.”
One of the ways the team will give more is by addressing the children’s needs at MSM.
“It will be a key part of the ministry,” she said.
In the past, children weren’t given the same level of support as the parent.
“The board has a lot of things in the works,” she added.
A farewell party was held Sunday at MSM with more than 75 people attending the come-and-go event.
Her last day is Tuesday, June 1, and she plans to take things one step at a time.
“I am going to put my boat in the water, but I am not sailing off just yet,” she said.