Reflections on Aging Well

Author, Living with Purpose in a Worn-out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults (Upper Room) and Columnist, Aging Well, United Methodist Reporter

Has the United Methodist Church forgotten its old? June 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — missybu @ 7:37 am

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? 

I wonder.


6 Responses to “Has the United Methodist Church forgotten its old?”

  1. Jennifer J Gooding Says:

    Missy, you asked for information from UM Conferences on aging. West Virginia Annual Conference included doc 2010-10 SAVE THE DATE! The Graying of the Church, September 15, 2011, featuring Rev. Dr. Richard H. Gentzler, Jr. sponsored by the WV Annual Conference Council on Older Adult Ministries.

  2. missybu Says:

    Super! Thanks for letting me know, Jennifer. Rick Gentzler is terrific so I’m sure it will be a great event. Good for WV!

  3. Bobbie Guillory Says:

    A friend sent me your blog. I cannot comment on the whole country, but St. Paul’s UMC in Tucson, AZ has a great senior program with a wonderful Director of Senior Adult and Lay Care Ministries – Jim Moffett! We have a senior Stretch and Strengthen program 3X a week with about 100-150 seniors who fill the gym for an hour and a half to stay fit. I think the oldest is 95 years!! We have a top notch retired physical therapist to lead us and motivate us to care about our bodies. I have returned to the church after 50 years because of these great ministries.
    Our exercise class members, as well as the ministers, visit and call those who are ill and cannot make it to class. We care about each other and reach out to one another. Check out our web-site: Most seniors come to the 8 A.M. service on Sundays – see you there! Bobbie

    • Jennifer Johns-Gooding Says:

      This is a great plan, Bobbie, and I am glad to see it. I’ve known other churches with similar programs, and I have begun yoga classes that included seniors. I’m thankful you are pursuing this, Missy, even if not too many seem to have commented.

  4. missybu Says:

    Thanks Bobbie and Jennifer for your feedback. It always gives me hope to hear of churches that are embracing and encouraging their older adults. I am looking forward to learning more about St. Paul’s program

    • Bobbie Guillory Says:

      So, Missy, have you uncovered any other active seniors in churches? I just happened upon this site again while looking for anything that might have my name attached to it, so I sent it to our minister, Billy Still. He is just terrific! The exercise class drew me back to the church after 50 years away from the UMC. Many of our older adults are church leaders, from board members to cooks to spiritual leaders. Did you have an opportunity to see our website? I checked yours and I do understand about that little nudge. I get more of them of late… perhaps I just feel them a bit better now.
      I am involved with Oasis, national org. that offers classes for mostly seniors. I teach beadwork and have exciting groups of older women. I also write a newsletter for a women’s organization here in Tucson. Life gives me such wonderful rewards at 73. The best age…yet!
      Love to you, Bobbie

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