Thursday, October 22, 2009

Resources for Mission & Ministry with Older People

Just put this together for my Deanery, so it might be useful for someone. The population study released yesterday focused on immigration figures: 180k a year boosting the population to over 70 million by 2033. But there's another story: the number of pensioners is going to rise to over 15 million by 2033, from 9 million in 2005. The number of over-85's will treble to over 3 million. We probably need net immigration to keep a balance of ages across the population.

We tend to take older people for granted in the church, and agonise about reaching the young, when many churches (and the majority of Anglican churches) are in a much better position to connect with older people than with younger folk. Here in Somerset, there are more over-60's than under-20's, we employ childrens workers but how many churches have a Seniors worker?

Update: had a call this morning from someone who wanted to do more for the isolated elderly living alone and struggling on a fixed income. Having only put this together yesterday, I was struck by the timing! A God moment.

Resources for Work With Over-60s.

a) Books/leaflets
- A Mission Shaped Church for Older People, jointly published with the Leveson Centre, available for £10 from the Leveson Centre (see below). An excellent 80 page study with material on age awareness and mission to older people, and a substantial ‘ideas’ section on everything from dementia to outreach. Lots of material which could be used in training and resourcing lay people.

- ‘People try to Put us Down’, Encounters on the Edge study of mission with over-60’s, published in 2008 by the Sheffield Centre/Church Army. Available from The Sheffield Centre Wilson Carlile Centre 50 Cavendish Street Sheffield S3 7RZ Telephone: 0114 272 7451 or online from

b) Charities/Organisations
1. The Outlook Trust: The Wycliffe Centre, Horsleys Green, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 3XL Tel: 01494 485222 Email: A mission agency specialising in work with older people. They’ve recently produced a DVD on how to do ‘Holiday at Home’ events.

2. The Leveson Centre Temple Balsall, Knowle, Solihull, West Midlands B93 0AN Tel 01564 778022
Email: Wide range of conferences, resources and publications. Here’s their index – in some of these areas there are literally dozens of bits of research, publications, papers etc.

•Age discrimination
•Ageing in the countryside
•Ageing policy
•Ageing research
•Christian Council on Ageing Dementia Group
•End-of-life issues
•Ethnic elders
•Housing options
•Ilness in old age
•Leveson Centre publications
•Long-term care
•Older people and religious organisations
•Quality of life in old age
•Related organisations
•Spiritual needs of older people
•Welfare, benefits and pensions
•Worship and older people

3. The Church Army: lots of material. including
- Discovering Faith in Later Life: research papers by Mike Collyer focusing on particular ministries to older people, e.g. residential homes, ‘Holiday at Home’ events, church for the SAGA generation etc. Free to download.
- Information Bulletin: comes out every 2-3 months, brief articles on new research, training, conferences, resources and ideas for work with seniors. Free to download.
- Links to Grandparenting Forums and a range of other charities working with the elderly.
- ‘88 Ways for older people to enjoy their ministry’ Ideas paper from Mike Collyer with a whole range of ideas for involving older people in fruitful ministry in the church.

50 services for use in Care homes: worship ideas for care homes – main celebrations, seasonal and biblical themes, hymn choices etc.

Senior alpha is being developed for care and nursing homes.

Waiting for God: Ideas for mission and outreach among the elderly’ booklet produced by the Diocese of Peterborough, available from 01604 887000 or Brief, encouraging, and with short summaries of things to learn and questions to ask.

A cut and paste of all of the above (if you put the Leveson Centre list into 2 columns) will fit on an A4 sheet.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks David for a really useful list of resources. I was pleased to see you had included material from the Leveson Centre; their former director James Woodward spoke at the Learning Church Conference in July. I was very interested in his presentation on Reading Old Age in which he summarised various books on the topic and raised some very stimulating and challenging questions. I blogged about the particular narratives of old age (his phrase) that he used here .

    I think we are only just beginning to take this issue seriously. One presenting issue is the growing number of older people offering for training for ministry (lay and ordained) and previous guidelines are looking dated given the rapidly shifting situation. Much work is being done on encouraging younger vocations but not a lot on fostering older people's vocations. That said, there is a danger that some ministries will increasingly be seen as retirement ministries e.g. Reader.