Here are a few of the titles that my clergy friends have posted lately on their Facebook pages:
“5 Things Millennials Wish the Church Would Be”
“Millennials leaving church in droves, study says”
“10 Reasons Churches Are Not Reaching Millennials”
Yes, everyone is worried about attracting young people to church, bringing them back to the church, or introducing them to the church because their parents didn’t do it. I’m a little worried, too, but not much. I’m convinced that what young people are looking for is a chance to impact the world, to make a difference in real, authentic ways. I’m equally convinced that what we offer here is an opportunity to do just that, and that young people are responding in growing numbers. If you’ve looked around much on a Sunday morning, you’ve probably seen it for yourself.
I’m more concerned about something else: While we’re reaching out to the twenty- and thirty-somethings, are we meeting the needs of our aging members, many of whom have dedicated their energy, prayers, love and financial and other resources to MCC Austin for many years?
My experience with my own mother has opened my eyes over these last few years. Aging is not for the faint of heart! Navigating Medicare and fixed incomes and retirement (What does that word even mean anymore?) housing changes and loss of a partner or loss of health or mobility can be time consuming, exhausting, and sometimes defeating.
Our Aging Grace-Fully conference was created in response to some of these questions and perceived needs and in response to our commitment to minister to and with all populations, especially those who may not always be fully served and celebrated.
Once again Marilyn Waggoner and Dannie Duckworth, with support from Amanda Alvarado and Erik Bell, have put together a wonderful program. Aging Gracefully begins at 9:00 am this Saturday, April 8, and ends at 5:00. It is open to the public, and I really encourage you to invite friends and family members who are either nearing retirement age themselves or who are or will soon be caring for others who are aging. There will be an “exhibit hall” in the old sanctuary, and you can stop by the display areas and talk with representatives all throughout the day. Each hour there will be a different presentation in the social hall. Here is the presentation schedule; there will be other presenters available in the exhibit hall.
9:00 Fraud Watch: How to Identify & Avoid Frauds & Scams
9:45 HIV in the Aging Population
10:30 Distracted Driving
11:15 Area Agency on Aging
12:00 MADE FOR THE ROAD: Mature Adult Driver Education
12:45 Why do People with Alzheimer’s Do That?
1:30 Demystifying Reverse Mortgages
2:15 Medicare ABC and What? Docs, Drugs, Do’s and Don’ts
3:00 The Future of Aging in Austin
4:15 Equal Access to Legal Protection
Young, old, or in-between, thank you for blessing our congregation with your unique self. Individually we’re awesome. Together, we’re awsomer. (Yes, I really said that.)
Grace and Peace,