Now more than ever there is a need for Boomers and older adults to find meaningful rituals to honour and celebrate the changes that are happening in our lives. No one knows this better than the eminent Rabbi Richard Address who has written extensively on this topic. Rabbi Address will be one of our keynotes speakers at Canadian Boomerfest from October 17th to 19th, Siloam United Church, London ON. Check out my article, “Rituals vital to honouring late-life transitions”, which the London Free Press published today to learn more.
One of the best ways our faith communities can support families is by reaching out to those who are grandparents, many of whom are Baby Boomers. Last year we enjoyed two excellent sessions on grand-parenting with Susan McKane, who leads family and parenting workshops at a local Family Support and Crisis Centre: Merrymount Children’s Centre, in London, ON. These were so well received that we hope to set up something on a more regular basis in the future.
Let’s face it. Grandparents today need support and encouragement, as many are facing challenges not seen by previous generations of grandparents, often even raising their grandchildren full-time.
My mentor and colleague in Boomer Ministry, Dr. Will Randolph, offers an important “example of a church which is leveraging Grandparenting as a way of engaging outside of their membership and within with their grandparents, most of which are Boomers.” Check it out! Grandparenting Ministry.
I have been re-reading Craig Kennet Miller’s wonderful book, Boomer Spirituality. Seven Values for the Second Half of Life. In the opening pages he quotes a woman who had been retired for about six months from a very high-powered leadership position in her denomination. In tears, she burst out: “You don’t know what it’s like out there. My church and the senior center treat us like we are mindless infants with nothing to do.” She then went on to say, “They don’t recognize us for what we can offer, for the people we are. I’m not dead yet!”
Miller goes on to say that Boomers have always wanted to make a difference in their communities. The fact that many Boomers are retired or facing retirement in the near future does not mean that we just want to roll over and play dead. Traditional seniors ministry which focuses on Bingo and bus trips will not satisfy our deepest longings and certainly fall far short of honouring the image of God within us. Faith communities need to develop Boomer ministries that will celebrate the many gifts Boomers have to share, help us to grow spiritually and challenge us to serve the world that God loves.
If you would like to learn more about how you can begin to develop a meaningful and inspiring ministry with Boomers and older adults — or if you are seeking ways to grow your own faith in the second half of life — come to Canadian Boomerfest 2018. Craig Miller will be there to share his ideas, along with Will Randolph, Jane Kuepfer, Anne Beattie-Stokes and Rabbi Richard Address, who also have much to teach us on how to reach Boomers and, through them, how to connect with our younger generations. Hope to see you there on October 17th to 19th, Siloam United Church, London ON.