Listening to Legacies

August 05, 2015

By Maya Parmar, Office Coordinator for Congregational Vitality
"Listening to Legacies" is a guide to interviewing older adults that was produced by the California-Nevada Annual Conference’s Older Adult Ministry Council. “It is a very good way for young people to learn some skills of interviewing older adults about their life stories,” said the Rev. Dr.  Judith Pruess-Mellow.  Pruess-Mellow was on the Older Adult Ministry Council and now represents older adults’ interest on the Committee on New and Vital Congregations. She encourages churches to use the resource with their youth ministry to learn from our elders. She says, "Our seniors have many wise insights into how we can live better Christian lives."
Listening to Legacies incorporates activities for Sunday school or youth ministries. The lessons learned are told with purpose and value for life.  The goal is to teach youth to be prepared for an interview, and to listen. These stories are filled with information that varies from nutrition, health, love, to work ethic, and social standards.
Even though Listening to Legacies was written in 2009, the skills shared are still relevant. The booklet is now available for free. “At all the sites where this was used, we got really good feedback young people have the opportunity to practice with each other in order to prepare for the interview and older adults feel honored to share their stories and their wisdom and life lessons live on as legacies," explained Pruess-Mellow. 
Another resource person is Garnet Templin-Imel, an ESL instructor at Bellevue College in Bellevue, Washington, who blogs are under the heading “Listening to Legacies." To read the blog, click here.
Another resource is the Intergenerational Learning Center, an award winning child care program, located within Providence Mount St. Vincent in West Seattle. It is a senior residential facility that offers child care with a curriculum. The curriculum offers children to accept people with disabilities and aging process which are mutually beneficial by allowing seniors to contribute to their community and impact the lives of these children.
The United Methodist Women (UMW) of the California-Nevada Conference, and the California-Pacific Conference, both have ongoing Legacy Projects. Funding for this project was donated by the UMW Beulah Fund.
For more information on Older Adult Ministry, or to request a copy of "Listening to Legacies," contact the Rev. Dr. Judith Pruess-Mellow at, or (650) 823-0559, or Maya Parmar, Project Coordinator for Congregational Vitality at, or (916) 374-1525.