What are older people expected to do in the church? Pray, be tolerant, accept changes, stand down from the PCC, keep up with the young, make tea, not rock the boat, do flowers, don’t talk about the past, help with the crèche, ‘sit up shut up and pay up’, knit squares, dust, hand out books, run the Mother’s Union, organize the bazaar or jumble sale, mend the church furnishings, polish the brass, do maintenance, help in the church office—not with computers, but in sticking stamps on envelopes.
Older People would like to: Help others, share experiences, use talents, listen to older hymns, be loved, be recognized as part of the church family, be listened to, pray, be involved in decision-making, share more activities in the general church, be part of the visiting programme. Help the handicapped, be a granny/grandpa figure in the crèche, take part in hospital visiting, Gideons, prison work, be in a home group, take services in old peoples’ homes, counsel, teach, evangelize, help children in school, help with publicity, keep identity, have a clear ministry, share wisdom, have links with younger people, not clean brass, have a voice in things, lead worship sometimes, be part of a pastoral care team, be part of all events, have a prayer partner with a younger person, learn how to pray for each other.
NORMAN’S VISION FOR THE CHURCH The gifts and experience of older Christians married to the gifts and energy of younger Christians and integrated into the whole life and ministry of the Church, local and wider. Older Christians seen as God’s new missionary force for this time. The average age of Anglicans in this Nation is 61—My prayer is for the Church to see its future existence lies as much with older Christians and not exclusively with younger, whose numbers as in the general population, are shrinking.
To enable every older Christian to expand their vision of what God can do in our day through them and empower them to enter into all that God shows them. To equip every older Christian so that they don’t ask—is this possible? but all say this is absolutely possible.
We need variety because older people aren't just one homogenous group? The term ‘older people’ is used to describe a group of people far more diverse than ever before and how we express the Good News of Jesus to a 65 year old, needs to be very different than a 90 year old.
The ‘Baby-Boomer Generation’-(born between 1946 and 1964), many of whom are approaching retirement or have already retired, have challenged the preconceived ideas and stereotypical images of ageing. Many of the aspects of their youth culture –rock concerts, music festivals, political protests and an interest in new age spirituality—have come with them into middle age and beyond. So, they relish living life to the full and retirement is a time to pursue this yet further.
‘Third Agers’-(65-74) are people who are active, vibrant and still involved in life. ‘Third Age’ is a time of fulfilment, free from mortgage, career building is over, children are independent, time is now available for the individuals.
The ‘Fourth Age’- can be a time of extraordinary needs and vulnerabilities – i.e. the age of increasing dependency. (Some split this into the ‘Active frail’(75-84) and the ‘Inactive frail’(85 and older). Fourth agers are over 75 years old and a good number are dependent on others to help with the routine activities of daily living. They may have limited mobility and suffer chronic or debilitating diseases.
The Church and Older People Some fundamental questions Is the church meeting the spiritual needs of older people? What more could be done? (Talk to the person next to you for a couple of minutes- then a time of feedback)
The Church and Older People Building Blocks for Ministry to Older People Prayer Strategy Human Resources Gifting Training Commissioning
Options for Mission and Ministry : Holidays at Home Celebrate Special Events Drama Grandparenting Residential Home Visiting Bereavement Group Visiting the Housebound in the Community Projects Involving Young People Conduct a Survey on Needs of Older People (Physical & Spiritual) Establishment of Older Peoples’ Action Groups ‘Men’s Sheds’ set up all over Australia, meet and work together to help groups such as disaffected teenagers and school drop-outs—these ‘missional’ communities offer much needed fellowship for newly retireds and makes use of their invaluable skills.
RESOURCES AVAILABLE ‘Holiday At Home’ DVD and Workbook--£15.00 Olympic Themed, Holiday at Home--£10.00 (ordered from CPO) ‘Fun With A Purpose’--£10.00 (usually £12.99) ‘How On Earth Can We Share Our Faith’--£6.00 ‘What The Bible Says About Older Age--£3.00 ’50 Services Of Christian Worship’--£5.00 ’50 Bible Studies For Use In Care Homes’--£5.00 ‘Words Of Hope’—’Words Of Peace— ’Words Of Faith’--£6.99 each Pilgrim’s Progress Workbook--£25.00 each ‘Prayers For Seniors’--£2.95 ‘Three Score Years And Then?’--£2.50 (Usually £3.00)
Options for Mission and Ministry: Strategies for Reaching Older People 1. Go Out To Them Visiting church members who may be absent due to ill- health House to House visiting & distributing leaflets or to find out what needs there are Welcoming newcomers to the neighbourhood Making visits to find out if people would value prayer
Options for Mission and Ministry: Strategies for Reaching older People 2. Invite Them to Come to You ( Church or a Neutral Venue e.g. Drop in Centre) Put on Special Events: A Drama Presentation Lunch Clubs Coffee Mornings Show a Good Film or Video Run a Senior Alpha/Christianity Explored Course Christmas/Easter/New Year Parties
Options for Mission and Ministry: Strategies for Reaching older People 3. Invite Them to Come to You (Hospitality at Home) Invite a lonely neighbour home for coffee or a meal. Have a small social gathering/party to celebrate an event or at Christmas/Easter/New Year Use your video/ hi-fi equipment to hold film/ music evenings
Options for Mission and Ministry: Strategies for Reaching older People 4. Go Somewhere Together Take one or two older people out for a cup of coffee at the local sports centre especially if they can watch swimming or skating or ….. Take one or two less-able people to a local park or shopping centre. Take an older person to a concert, the cinema or a theatre.
Older People are Important to God- Men and women made in His image Grey hair is a crown of splendour. (Pr 16:31) Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4) Your strength will equal your days. The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deut 33:25-27) We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Cor 4:16)
Older People in Society—Some Basic Facts 1. 53% of adults agree that once you reach very old age, people tend to treat you like a child 2. 60% of older people agree that age discrimination exists in the daily lives of older people and 68% agree politicians see older people as a low priority 3. It is estimated that there are 14 million Grandparents—1.5 million of whom are under 50 4. Over 12 million people are of state pension age—almost 1 in 5 5. Well over 21 million aged over 50—over 1/3rd of the UK Population 6. Over 1.4 million aged over 85 7. Centenarians rose from 2,600 in 1981 to almost 12,000 in 2009 8. Most pensioners live alone (32%) or with their partner (51%), only 13% live with family or friends. 9. Only 4% live in residential homes. (Source: Office for National Statistics papers on Ageing)
OLDER CHRISTIANS GOD USES TODAY HAROLD AND JESSIE THOMPSON HAROLD IS AGED 96 THOMPSON
GRANDPARENTS DAY IN ISLAMABAD Mr. Pervez Khan leading the opening Prayer Youth members waiting to receive Honourable Guests