I recently placed this classified ad in The Lutheran: "I need examples of how churches enable members over 65 to feel that they matter." I received excellent examples of what some congregations do to create welcoming and engaging environments for over-65 members.
But I also received this reply: "Where is the Lutheran church for those of us lifelong Lutherans over 65? Certainly not in our parish!" Actually, I heard from several people who were discouraged that their congregation was generally ignoring older adults.
I was surprised to hear those expressions of pain and frustration. I probably shouldn't have been. I study the ways churches and other social institutions can empower older adults toward feelings of well-being. Yet I was blindsided by the reality that for some people the church, one of the most important foundations of their life, was neglecting them during the very years when it could be the most helpful. What if, I thought with dismay, this quandary is true for many older adults, not just a few?
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