May Celebrates Older Americans Month

by Dr. Richard H. Gentzler, Jr., director ENCORE Ministry

Every May, The United Methodist Church invites local churches to observe Older Americans Month. In past years, church leaders were invited to provide opportunities – whether on a Sunday morning during worship services or another day and time – to recognize older adults’ distinctive gifts and challenges. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders this year will need to exercise caution and creativity in observing the month.

The 2020 theme, Make Your Mark, encourages and celebrates the countless contributions that older adults make to our churches and communities. Their time, experience, faith, and talents benefit family, peers, and neighbors every day. Churches, communities, and individuals of all ages are also making their marks. This year’s theme highlights the difference everyone can make – in older adults’ lives and in supporting caregivers and strengthening communities.

Now more than ever, stories of how older adults have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic or ways our churches are reaching out to members can provide hope, inspiration, and ideas for people of all ages. Congregations can share these stories via email blasts, through Facebook, Twitter, or other social media posts, and do-it-yourself home videos posted on YouTube.

The ENCORE Ministry Committee of the Tennessee Conference invites everyone to celebrate Older Americans Month and make a mark in May! The committee would love to hear your stories and ideas and possibly post some of them on the ENCORE Ministry website so others may be enlightened, inspired, and encouraged to act during these uncertain times. Send your submissions to Richard.gentzler@tnumc.com.

For a free packet of resources and ideas for intentional older adult ministry, click tps://goldencrossfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/2020-Resource-Pack-Local-Church.pdf.