HERE’S WHAT PEGGY DID. Peggy wasn’t excited about turning 80. She wondered what she could do instead of having a party. She started thinking. What can I give? Well, I’m turning 80. I’ll give $80. Peggy decided to give $80 apiece to 80 friends and relatives. She put four $20 bills; a self-addressed, stamped postcard; and a note asking people, in honor of her birthday, to give the money to anyone they chose. “Find someone who least expects it …. Then write … and tell me about your experience.”
■ One woman heard a teller at her bank say that she would be out for six weeks for reconstructive surgery. The woman reached into her purse and gave the teller the $80.
■ A couple was inspired by something they read, “Socks are the most-needed but least-donated article of clothing in homeless shelters.” They pooled their money to buy 52 pairs of socks and took them to a shelter just before Thanksgiving. [• Story]
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EVEN WITH LIMITED MOBILITY, ministry can happen.
As we age, we might forget that one of the blessings of aging is the opportunity for new beginnings, new dreams and visions for the later years of our lives. Sadly, in worship and program planning, we often fail to consider the unlimited potential and opportunities for ministry that older adults can offer to our congregations. There is so much for us to learn together, so many ways for us to support and care for one another, so many ministries for us to embrace — together, old and young alike!
Vitale-Aussem goes on to write that older adults’ lives are also filled with sadness and grief. Extreme losses in personal life. Spouses get sick. Longtime friends die. Real life happens and they need real, deep, and authentic relationships to survive.
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A PRAYER CONCERN WAS RAISED a while back about ministry to people in nursing homes. That renewed my thinking about aging and the church’s presence with folks as they/you live in the later years. Where does the church fit into this?
In Disrupting, Vitale-Aussem cites three negative experiences of people with limited mobility. Loneliness. Being alone at home or in a planned community surrounded by strangers. Helplessness. Having a role to play but being told you’re not needed. Boredom. Purposeful work —meaningful things to do — is replaced with card games and bingo. Surely, members of the church can help address these issues with our own members and the larger community.
How can we utilize gifts and talents of aging members? What about those who are confined to home, or life-planned communities? How do we effectively minister to them? Or their caregivers?
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I WANT TO HEAR from you. You have dreams and visions. You have your experiences. You have your spiritual journeys. I want to hear those.
What are your talents, skills and passions?
How do you want to share these gifts to make Swift stronger and more vibrant?