Saturday, January 29, 2011

Old age outrage

One of the areas of ministry - or lack of it - that has come increasingly to my attention during my time in National Mission is the way in which many elderly people are regarded as surplus to requirements in the average congregation. This isn't true of all churches - some of whom do very well in regard to older people - but it is true of many churches were the focus is almost entirely on children, youth, young families....

Here's a quote from an essay entitled, Fitness and Outrage, by Sherwin B. Nuland, who is himself now 80 years of age:

“Too many of the elderly do not have the family or the communal attachments necessary to feel valued; too many are widowed or otherwise alone; too many live in surroundings where they are essentially without the companionship necessary to stimulate a mind in danger of deteriorating. Too many are so poor or unable to obtain social services that they cannot remain in their own homes, and are certainly without the wherewithal to live in an upscale retirement community or assisted-living facility. Too many have passed their entire lives without the level of education and general knowledge necessary to take advantage of what is available to their peers raised in circumstances of greater awareness. For the vast majority of such men and women, so often socially and even physically more or less isolated, modern gerontology and its discoveries might as well not exist.”

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