The Rickman Legacy Leadership Development Fund has provided funding for the second year of leadership training for churches across the Region who wish to address their older adult population with pro-active steps. The program on ministry models for local congregations and clusters is offered in two- to six-hour blocks depending on the church’s choices and emphasis. The event is free of charge to all congregations, but registration is required.
The programs are led by Jan Aerie, MS, family counselor and gerontologist, who has long developed and led workshops, written curricula and founded elderly advocacy organizations with churches and communities.
This fall programs are scheduled at three sites:
Millersburg Christian Church, September 30, worship at 10:30am and continuing 1 – 3 pm
Monroe City Christian Church, October 13, 9am – 1pm
First Christian Church, Mt Vernon, Oct 27, 9am - 1pm
It’s no secret that life expectancy in the US is lengthening, and with so many baby boomers, the US population aged 60 and over is “booming.” Nor is it a secret that US mainline protestant congregations are graying and shrinking. The fact is that today’s mainline churches have a large and valuable asset—their older adults.
Intentionally developing and fully utilizing the great wisdom, faith and experience of older adults is critical to the mission of churches today. Clearly, older adults are an essential resource for the Church, and have much to offer to its mission, not only in regular giving in the offering plate, but in life experience, faith formation and active involvement in the community.
It is essential for us to finds ways to develop a comprehensive plan to raise awareness and address the emerging crises in health, caregiving and faith issues, which cross generational and economic lines. There are many congregations seeking to develop more comprehensive approaches to such a ministry.
Churches who held programs last year discovered ways they could enhance their outreach and evangelism with older adults, and address concerns of their older population that they had never even thought of. They felt the knowledge they gained and the challenge they took up was well worth it.
Story submitted by Jan Aerie.