I am perplexed… and a little sad, too. For the last couple of weeks, I have asked United Methodists on Twitter and Facebook to be my eyes and ears at annual conferences around the country. Since I cannot be in so many places at one time, I followed the lead of UM pastors and layperson who tweet, using a particular hashtag to identify each annual conference. It is a great way to track what is happening in real time. Throughout the days, I made numerous posts, reminding them to relay any comments or conversations they heard about “older adults” during annual conference.
By now, most of these twitter friends know that I write a monthly column, Aging Well, for the United Methodist Reporter. They understand my interest. So, I posted… then I waited. To date, the only responses I have received were from those who said the topic never came up. They had an apologetic tone. One person noted that the Older Adult ministry had a table set up, but other than that… nothing.
Now don’t jump the gun. I know how annual conferences work. There are reports and voting, retirement recognitions, ordination and worship. There is not time for every aspect of ministry to be addressed. But I can not help but wonder. If our annual conferences do not lift up the importance of older adult ministries in a world that is graying quickly, what does it say to the rest of the world? To the leaders of local congregations? To the frail woman who sits in her room and tries to remember the last time her chuch came to visit?