Older adults are a growing and increasingly vital part of our churches. The contributions they make to our congregations are varied, deeply rooted, and include influential roles in our communities. From teaching children in Sunday school, providing respite and care for others, serving in church leadership positions, taking mission trips and engaging in local service projects, older adults are blazing trails in all aspects of Christian life.
In 1963, the Administration on Aging began to acknowledge the contributions of older people by using the month of May to celebrate Older Americans Month (OAM). In 2008, the General Conference of The United Methodist Church adopted legislation in support of recognizing older adults during the month of May. This annual observance offers the opportunity to learn about, support, and celebrate our church’s oldest members. This year’s theme, “Blaze a Trail,” emphasizes the ways older adults are reinventing themselves through new work and new passions, engaging their communities, and blazing a trail of positive impact on the lives of people of all ages.
While the Tennessee Conference encourages local congregations to provide ministry by, with, and for older adults year-round, we will use OAM 2016 theme set by the Administration on Aging to focus on how older adults in our communities are leading and inspiring others, how we can support and learn from them, and how we might follow their examples to blaze trails of our own. Throughout the month of May, I hope your congregation will conduct activities and share information designed to highlight ministry by, with and for older adults in you church.