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Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network conference aims to lift up ‘the new face of aging’

Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church in San Diego will host the event May 29-30

by Beth Waltemath | Presbyterian News Service

The theme for this year’s Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network conference is “The New Face of Aging: Transformative Approaches to Older Adult Ministry.”

Anyone interested in ministry with older adults is encouraged to register for and attend the event, which will take place at Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church in San Diego from May 29-30. According to POAMN’s website, ministry leaders, chaplains and lay leaders will offer fresh perspectives on older adult ministry and new ideas to implement. Worship and workshops will anchor the opening day of the conference.

Dr. Richard Lederer

The following day, keynote speakers will include Dr. Emery Cummings, who will discuss gratitude as “the oft-overlooked secret to fulfillment” in late life, and Dr. Richard Lederer, a bestselling author and self-proclaimed “verbivore” who will present on the gifts of aging and insights into the language used around growing older.

Several workshops will pick up on the gifts of creativity and self-reflection of older adults as they cover the benefits of intergenerational Bible journaling and telling, the cognitive benefits of genealogy work and the sharing of stories as the end of life nears. Other workshops will focus on the practical realities of aging, like engaging in end-of-life planning, caregiving for a loved one and choosing where to live. Additional workshops will aim to help communities and individuals understand the particularities of grief, loneliness and dementia and how to adapt ministries and worship to these realities for older adults.

“I’m looking forward to connecting with the amazing older adult ministry professionals in our denomination and beyond! Over 10,000 people a day turn 65 in the United States every day, so older adult ministry plays a vital role in the health, vitality, and functioning of our congregations and communities,” said Zeena Regis, one of this year’s workshop leaders. “Having a strong network of older adult ministry leaders is valuable to every aspect of our ministries.”

Zeena Regis

Regis serves as the director of faith engagement at Compassion and Choices and will be facilitating a workshop on how “beginning advanced care planning with our stories can lead to life affirming conversations about spirituality, faith, community, justice, and legacy.”

Older adults are a major demographic in churches in many denominations, including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). In order to resource the ministries to them, POAMN has been developing more tools for congregations and leaders that are available through the POAMN website. The ministry network annually updates a planning guide for older adult ministries. Recently, with the help of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, the network has added a web resource, Expressions in Older Adult Ministry, with important facts and statistics about the new face of aging and videos useful to use in understanding and planning ministry with older adults.

May 5 marks the beginning of Older Adult Week, according to the Presbyterian Planning Calendar. New resources are available through POAMN and the PMA’s Office of Christian Formation to help worship leaders plan and celebrate.

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