The Older Adult Council of the California-Nevada Annual Conference was the lone recipient in the Western Jurisdiction, when the General Board of Discipleship awarded grants in August to support caregiving ministries for older adults. The grants totaled $75,000 and went to a variety of ministries that help older adults directly, and assist family members and local churches ministering to seniors.
The grants were administered by the Center on Aging and Older Adult Ministries at the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD). Grant funding was provided by the United Methodist Committee on Older Adult Ministries, which is administratively related to GBOD.
"The Committee on Older Adult Ministries encouraged congregations and Conferences to provide training, oftentimes for volunteers and caregivers," explained the Rev. Dr. Richard H. Gentzler Jr., the center's director. "With an increasing aging population and the likelihood of federal spending cutbacks, churches will need to train volunteer caregivers and other volunteers who are in ministry with older adults."
The grant program was a way to bring the need for more elder caregiving to the forefront, and to assist those who are willing to be creative and to become more intentional about caregiving, Gentzler said.
Congregations, Annual Conferences, and UM-related institutions submitted a total of 76 grant applications, seeking more than $234,000 for their ministries with older adults. The committee approved and funded 45 applications for a total of $75,000, including 10 for the North Central Jurisdiction, four for the Northeastern Jurisdiction, eight for the South Central Jurisdiction, 21 for the Southeastern Jurisdiction, one for the Western Jurisdiction and one for the Central Conference.
The Older Adult Council received the maximum grant amount of $2,500, which was designated for training events in older adult ministries.
The OAC proposal included two District Training Days for the Conference's four districts, in April and May 2012.
Session topics will include:
- One-to-one Friendly Visiting of those who are homebound and in assisted living (such as Communion ministry; use of kits of meaningful items when visiting those with memory loss; phone call and card ministries; Worship on Wheels; and Listening to Legacies);
- Caregiver and Care Receiver Support components;
- High tech innovations, such as use of email, Facebook, and Skype to stay in touch; and
- Preventing financial abuse and identity theft.
The OAC is administered by the Rev. Dr. Judith Pruess-Mellow and Susan Harlan.
During the current quadrennium, the United Methodist Committee on Older Adult Ministries has made grants to support two specific areas of older adult ministries – caregiving ministry and intergenerational ministry.
GBOD's mission is to support Annual Conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, GBOD is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. Visit www.gbod.org for more information.