The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is committed to equipping leaders, developing covenant connections and providing resources to welcome and encourage older adults to participate at every level of the church while meeting their needs and utilizing their talents. This is done by means of important networks of Presbyterians out in the church working with older adults.
The lengthening of the average human lifespan is one of the remarkable achievements of the 20th century. In 1900, life expectancy was only 47, but over those 100 years, it rose to 75 for men and 78 for women. The percentage of older persons in our global society is growing and expected to nearly double between 1990 and 2030.
This trend is no less apparent here in the United States and is especially noticeable within our own congregations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), where the average age of worshipers is 58 — and rising. For every worshiper under the age of 25, there are more than six worshipers over the age of 65, which account for 35% of all Presbyterians. Our churches, which have traditionally focused on our youth members, must now answer this question: “How can we adjust our focus to better meet the needs of and utilize the skills and wisdom of our older persons?”
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) works primarily with its covenant partners, the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministry Network and the Association of Retired Ministers, their Spouses or Survivors, to help congregations address new challenges and ever changing needs, collaborate with other religious and secular ministries, and advocate on behalf of society’s older adults.
Association of Retired Ministers, Spouses or Survivors (ARMSS)
This association nurtures and advocates for its retired members in recognition and celebration of their contributions to the church. ARMSS assists those able and willing to find meaningful service and connection to the church during retirement; promotes the use of retired clergy as Parish Associates; and supports presbyteries and synods in their ministry to and with retired clergy, spouses, and survivors.
Presbyterian Older Adult Ministry Network
This church-wide network includes pastors, Christian educators, and many others who work with older adults within congregations and retirement communities. POAMN provides opportunities to network with colleagues who are serving in this particular ministry through national and regional trainings and conferences. In no other setting can they benefit from specialized educational workshops and, at the same time, share ideas and experiences with others from across the nation.