Leaders in the Greensburg District are inviting clergy and laity from across Western PA to help explore ways to be in ministry "by, with, and for" older adults."
About 20 people from around the Conference, along with a pastor from the Susquehanna Conference of met at the Delmont: Faith UMC in Delmont, PA to learn about Older Adult Ministry in the local church from the Rev. Dr. William Randolph, who for several years focusing on older adult ministries for Discipleship Ministries.
"In order to effectively continue the mission of the church for making disciples of Jesus Christ with people of all ages, it is essential that churches be equipped to include Baby Boomers and Older Adults in their ministry portfolios," said Greensburg District Superintendent Pat Nelson, who has a specialized UMC certification in Older Adult Ministries. She organized the event because she sees the need for resources to be shared and for training to be offered to local churches.
Rev. Randolph provided everyone with the resources needed to address the needs, concerns, and opportunities for ministries that are coming with the “age-tsunami” of baby boomers and older adults in our congregations.
"Will helped us to see that aging faithfully is a lifelong process of growing up into the role as Sages and Mentors. This requires resources, training and visioning, which is best provided by our faith communities," Nelson said. Randolph's information included: Nuts and Bolts of Developing Boomer and Older Adult Ministries, Digging in the Details of the Baby Boomer Age-Tsunami, the Faith Formation of Older Adults, Developing Older Adult Ministries with Limited Resources, and Planning Older Adult Ministry in Specific Church Contexts.
Rev. Will Randolph's ministry in Western PA has included time as a local church pastor and as a chaplain at a local retirement community. He is an elder in the Western North Carolina Conference and until recently was the director of Aging and Older Adult Ministries at UMC Discipleship Ministries. When that position was eliminated due to budget constraints, he returned to Western PA and currently serves as the chaplain at another retirement community in Oakmont, PA. He is still actively involved in providing resources and training to churches interested in older adult ministries. Discipleship Ministries also continues to provide online resources for local churches and clergy interested in continuing their ministry to older adults.
Revs. Randolph and Nelson hope to form a Conference-wide Council for Older Adult Ministries and provide connections and resources for local churches to be well poised to be in ministry “by, with, and for older adults.” To get involved, contact the Greensburg District Office at Greensburg.Office@wpaumc.org.