Each May, United Methodist churches observe Older Americans Month. In past years, church leaders provided opportunities — whether during a Sunday morning worship service or another time — for recognizing the unique gifts and challenges of older adults.
Due to COVID-19 and social distancing, church leaders are challenged with finding creative ways to celebrate Older Americans Month. Now more than ever, senior adult members need our care and support. They are some of the most vulnerable and hardest hit by the pandemic.
ENCORE Ministry, a Tennessee Conference initiative providing resources and training for senior adult ministry, has posted resources at https://goldencrossfoundation.
“This year’s theme is Make Your Mark,” said the Rev. Dr. Richard Gentzler, Jr., director of ENCORE Ministry. “The theme was selected to encourage and celebrate the countless contributions that older adults make to our churches and communities.”
Church leaders are invited to visit the web page for virtual worship service ideas including scripture for sermon ideas, hymns, prayers, psalter readings, and a litany on aging for church worship.
Additional ideas for celebrating Older Americans Month are also included. While many were initially planned with face-to-face interactions in mind, most can be modified to meet safe and appropriate social distancing guidelines.
“A 24-hour prayer period focusing on your church’s senior adult members could easily be accomplished by using SignUpGenius whereby individuals sign up to pray in 30-minute increments,” said Gentzler.
Other ideas include developing a garden plot now for older adults to tend once the all-clear is given to safely gather again and delivering flowers and cards to members who are residents of long-term health care facilities.
“While the pandemic has certainly put a damper on gatherings, celebrating Older American’s Month can and will continue with a little creative ingenuity,” said Gentzler.
About ENCORE Ministry
Under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Richard H. Gentzler, Jr., ENCORE Ministry provides training and support, resources, and networking opportunities to equip church leaders in the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church for intentional ministry by, with, and for midlife and mature adults. Because the ministry is funded by a grant from the Tennessee Conference’s Golden Cross Foundation, there is no cost to congregations or districts for its service.
For more information, contact Cindy Solomon at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 615-594-1224.