Celebrating Older Adults
By Pastor Rob | July 13, 2005
May is filled chock full of celebrations and recognitions. Hopefully you will join us this month as we celebrate our Youth on National Youth Sunday May 1st. Mother’s Day falls on May 8th (happy Mother’s Day Mom’s) followed by the Birthday of the Church on Pentecost Sunday May 15th. Memorial Day is May 30th and we remember those that have given their lives for our freedom. But did you know that May is Older Adult Month?
John F. Kennedy designated May as “Senior Citizen’s Month” in 1963. In 1980 former President Jimmy Carter renamed it “Older Americans Month,” a name the observance retains today. When “Senior Citizen’s Month” was established, there were only 17 million Americans living aged 65 years and older. Today there are approximately 36 million Americans aged 65+. By 2030 that number will increase to 70 million. More than half of the Church of the Brethren membership is 55 years of age or older. Older adults are an important and significant portion of the U.S. population and the Church of the Brethren population.
Older adulthood is a time when individuals reflect upon and integrate the life they have lived with the elder they have become. The Older Adult Ministry calls this time “elderhood.” A member of the denomination’s Older Adult Ministry articulates a vision of elderhood that is quietly present among Church of the Brethren congregations.
Elderhood is a period of late-life development, a time in which we see the inter-connectedness of all things. This challenges us to work at harvesting our lives for the sake of healing and humanizing society by becoming mentors, mediators, monitors, mobilizers, and motivators. The larger community is thus gifted with models of kindness, forgiveness, compassion, and grace. Future generations are bequeathed a legacy which inspires hope. Leaving such a legacy represents the crowning achievement of life.
This May I encourage us all to celebrate the Older Adults among us. Take time to thank them for all their efforts and leadership, appreciate their wisdom and guidance, and make sure you attend the Sunday May 22 worship service. I am designating this “Celebrate Older Adult Sunday”, We will have a special anointing service to recognize those among us 55 years and older.
May is a time to remember and celebrate the many lives and communities that have been enriched by the contributions of older members. We extend a deeply felt thank you for all you do. Pastor Rob