Older Adult Ministry
Initial Report on Boomerstock
“Boomerstock” was a 4 day colloquium sponsored by the Aging and Older Adult Ministries section of Discipleship Ministries (formerly General Board of Discipleship) of the United Methodist Church. Over 100 people from all but 5 annual conferences in the United States were present. The colloquium featured some of the top resource people in the United States to help us understand the demographics, desires, longings, values, patterns, and beliefs of the group born between 1946--1964 known as Baby Boomers. (However, at this point in history, we should call them “Boomers”, not “Baby Boomers.”)
Do you have Intergenerational Programs scheduled?
To get an Older Adult Ministry going in your church:
- Work off the passion of individual seniors and the gifts and blessings of the church.
- Define the population of older adults in your church. Are they mostly Boomers (aged 50 – 70), Seniors (aged 71 – 85) or Elders (aged 86+), or possibly all three groups? What needs to arise from this definition? Following are some ideas:
- If you have many Elders, consider starting a Friendly Visitor Program, by phone or in person visiting; transportation assistance to church or church activities; a Listening to Legacies Program where teenagers interview older adults about their lives (see below for more information); or ongoing discussion or reminiscence groups;
If you have many Seniors, think about programs to help them volunteer or feel productive; innovative exercise classes to promote good physical and social health; or a Listening to Legacies Program;
If you have many Boomers, consider a caregiver support group for Children of Aging Parents (this has been called “ACAP” in Los Altos and Grass Valley); small group dinner gatherings for mid-lifers and new retirees; or classes or workshops providing information of interest to individuals in the Boomer age group.
- Check frequently on Instant Connection and this website for updates. There are many VITAL AND ALIVE churches with interesting older adult ministries. Currently, OAM/CNVC is coordinating a year-long project, Churches as Models. For more information, contact Rev. Joanne Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What you need:
- A group of people, so those interested in having an ongoing ministry knowing they have support and that there is ample material available to support them in their ministry.
- Someone from the church who knows almost everyone to spearhead the effort.
Death and Dying:
The OAM/CNVC recognizes the importance of congregations thinking and planning ahead and can assist them by asking:
- What are pastors doing about congregants completing Advanced Directives?
- What about Five Wishes? This is available from http://www.agingwithdignity.org/.
- CODA cards are an option that will assist people in completing the Five Wishes, and these are available from the CODA Alliance.
- Read the recently published books:
- Dennis McCullough, M.D.’s book, My Mother, Your Mother—the “slow medicine” idea. It was reviewed in the New York Times.
- Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish as being very helpful.
- OAM/CNVC encourages parishioners to ask elders these questions: How do you want to be remembered, to share your story, to record your stories, to leave a legacy? Several years ago, the Conference Older Adult Ministry group developed a booklet to guide congregations interested in preserving the legacies of Elders and Seniors. This booklet may be obtained by writing a check for $12 to CA NV Conference, Older Adult Ministry, and sending it to Judith Pruess-Mellow, Secretary, Committee on New and Vital Congregations, 529 Linden Ave., Grass Valley, CA 95945, with your address. She will send you a copy.
For more information on the Older Adult Ministry in the California-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church, email Judith Pruess-Mellow, chairperson at email@example.com.