In a world obsessed with youth, it can be easy for churches to overlook the gifts, experience and wisdom of older people. The simple fact is that people are living longer and there are increasing numbers of older people in society who sometimes feel overlooked. Churches can work together to encourage and bless older people, as well as drawing on their wisdom and helping them avoid loneliness and isolation.
Faith in Later Life – one of CTE’s Bodies in Association – brings together 650 years of expertise from four leading Christian charities spearheading Christian mission with and through older people. Their website provides a central hub of resources to help guide, enable and encourage churches and people, older or otherwise, in many different aspects of later life. They also have a network of Church Champions providing additional support through Faith in Later Life to their church communities.
Faith in Later Life also has a national UK directory of church-led activities for older people of all faiths and none, which provides a vital signposting service for communities across the UK – allowing an older person to see what friendship and community is being offered by churches in their area, and join in.
The Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) – another of our Bodies in Association – also has practical knowledge of developing Anna Chaplaincy in communities across the UK. Anna Chaplains are named after the widow, Anna, who appears with Simeon in Luke’s gospel; both are good role models of faithful older people. Anna Chaplains are there for people of strong, little or no faith at all. Whether you’re an individual called to this ministry, or a church leader wanting to develop it in your community, the team can help you.
A new book published in the summer of 2021 by Tina English A Great Place to Grow Old: Re-imagining Ministry Among Older People. This timely and accessible book offers advice and resources to help individuals and churches reach out effectively to the older people in their communities, to visit and support seniors in local care homes, and come alongside those living with dementia and their carers.