A Senior Adult Ministry
First United Methodist Church in Corpus Christi, Texas (Corpus Christi District, Southwest Texas Conference), celebrates the number of senior adults and their commitment to service in the church. These are dynamic, experienced people who are engaging themselves in all aspects of the church. Supported by the pastor and program staff member, the seventeen-member senior adult ministry team (several of whom also serve as leaders at the district and conference levels) provide leadership for the many activities designed not only for active members, but also those who are still "the church" but are living in assisted living, retirement centers, or are homebound. A listing and brief description of these activities follow.
SPIRITUALITY: Bible study, Communion to homebound, Wednesday night classes open to all ages.
LIFE ENRICHMENT: Physical Wellness, Education, Recreation
Body Recall, taught by a trained leader; lectures and services of the parish nurse; speakers at monthly senior adult meetings (e.g., hawk migration, financial planning, end-of-life planning); extended tours and one-day or overnight trips; Bingo and lunch; readers' theater.
SERVICE: Outreach, Intergenerational Activities
Seniors Assisting Seniors (S.A.S.),a program for poverty level seniors primarily in need of glasses or dentures (financed by grants from FUMC Foundation and the Coastal Bend Foundation); Oasis, a monthly four-hour respite time for caregivers of alzheimer patients; Baskets of Blessings (Thanksgiving and Christmas) to nursing homes and other identified sites or persons; soft, stuffed bears to the police department; Blankets of Love to child protective services; prayer blankets for ill older adults; cards/notes/altar flowers to the homebound; Senior Adult Sunday, an intergenerational service with special recognition to the seniors with the greatest longevity of active membership and service; supporting Boy Scout activities and church youths' travel and camps; vacation Bible school; and sponsoring a yearly money making project (e.g. variety show) that involves participants of all ages.
The list looks long. It is long, but it offers suggestions that can enable any church to engage active, creative, talented senior adults in a rewarding service opportunity. These opportunities not only enrich the lives of active senior adults, but they also enrich of the lives of loyal church members who are no longer able to be so active.
The basic requirements: pastoral and lay leadership -- the basic requirements of any engaging church program.