Introducing Lisa Jean Hoefner, Older Adult Ministries Coordinator
Rev. Dr. Lisa Jean Hoefner is the new Older Adult Ministries Coordinator for Discipleship Ministries (part-time contract). Her new position began November 1, and we are excited to have her join us with her local, conference, and national experience.
Rev. Hoefner has served as a pastor of churches, director of cooperative ministries, and director of camping ministries from 1975-2020 in New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Idaho, and California. Twice, she began new congregations as part of the camp’s ministries in the communities in which they were located. She recently started a “Wild Church” in partnership with Hope Meadow at Hope United Methodist Church in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
Rev. Hoefner is a graduate of Drew University (BA, 1975; DMin, 2006) and Yale Divinity School (MDiv, 1978). She enjoys playing in orchestras (violin) and bands (tuba) and singing in the choir. She tries not to miss opportunities to hike or canoe.
Whether as pastor of local congregations or director of camping and retreat ministries, she has always been passionate about designing and encouraging intergenerational and older-adult opportunities for service, fellowship, worship, support, and study. Some ministry highlights have included developing an older men’s service group that meets on Monday mornings as “the Pastor’s Fix-it Club.” The men gather to “fix the problems of the world” over a cup of coffee and then walk around the church facilities to see what fix-it tasks could be accomplished. She also started an intergenerational day camp that paired older adults from a local church with day campers (kindergarten through third grade) from a nearby congregation. She also started LOGOS youth/adult midweek Christian education sessions; a retreat for leaders of older adult to exchange ideas, resources, and mutual support; a camping/retreat ministry program in the Oregon-Idaho Conference that offered as many as 32 different opportunities for older adults each year, including “cherishing events” such as GrandCamps, “fellowship events” that build supportive community around flyfishing, hiking, quilting, birding, Shakespeare, and other interests, and “ministry strengthening events” like choir camps, spirituality and prayer, and mission-focused retreats.
From her varied experiences, Rev. Hoefner writes:
All too often local congregations, in their desire for growth, express repeatedly the need for young families and young people and overlook the people they actually have – people with friends and neighbors with whom they could engage if the church is genuinely an inviting community for all ages. Too often, as a single, middle-aged adult, and now as an older adult myself, churches I visit act as if I’m not even there or don’t really count. This is a huge loss for everyone. We need one another. We are not in competition. The church can be one of the most powerful experiences of inclusive community that a young person (or an old person) will likely encounter in American society. I would love to be a part of strengthening our churches for this ministry vision.
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