Older Adult Ministries

In a culture enchanted with the idea of youth, the Church of the Brethren chooses to live another way by valuing and welcoming the gifts of older adults. To encourage a positive vision of aging within the church, staff raises awareness of and develops resources on issues related to aging, in addition to providing a support network for those working with older adults.

NOAC 2019 logo

NOAC: National Older Adult Conference

September 2-6, 2019

Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina

Learn more about NOAC

Prayer for Older Adult Month and National Older Adult Conference 2019

God of the past, your love was with me.

God of the present, your love is with me.

God of the future, your love will be with me forever. Amen

—Karen Dillon, Vandalia, Ohio, Christian Education Director, Salem Church of the Brethren NOAC Committee

FOR MAY 5, 2019


Come, you who are young, and you who are old.
Come to be dressed, like Saul, in Jesus’ light!

Come, you who have poor vision and cannot see.
Come to be dressed, like Paul, with new sight!

Come, you who know grief, loneliness, weeping, and sadness.
Come to be dressed, like the psalmist, with new life!

Come, you who wonder what your future holds, how you will live and how you will die.
Come to be dressed, like Peter, by Jesus’ resurrection!

Come, you who have needs, questions, and longings.
Come to be dressed with the prayers of those who love Jesus!

Come, so that we might proclaim together: “You have changed my mourning into dancing. You took off my funeral clothes and dressed me up in joy, so that my whole being might sing praises to you and never stop!”

Acts 9:1-20; Psalm 30; Revelation 5:8-14; and John 21:1-19

Paula Ziegler Ulrich, Staff Pastor, Brethren Retirement Community, Greenville, OH, NOAC Planning and Worship Teams

FOR MAY 19, 2019


The old man in front of us walks so slowly. We try to hurry around, but his cart blocks the way. We feel stuck, and angry! Can’t he see that we have places to go, and things to do?

The young people behind me seem so impatient. They keep trying to zip around me, but there’s not enough space. I feel nervous and rushed! Why can’t they slow down and take their time?

My grandfather called again, asking when I will pick him up for his next doctor’s appointment. Why can’t he remember? I wrote it on his calendar, and I’ve told him ten times! I feel so frustrated! Doesn’t he know that I’m busy?

I keep calling my grandson, and asking him the same thing over and over. He tries to be polite, but I can tell he’s not happy with me. I can’t remember the little details, anymore. It makes me feel frightened, and alone. Can’t he see that I’m doing my best?

My mother can’t hear anything I say. It’s challenging to communicate, and I almost feel like giving up. I’m tired of repeating everything. And yet, I don’t want to leave her out or ignore her, either.

I know my daughter gets tired of repeating things. It’s hard to get old and lose various abilities – like hearing! I sometimes feel sorry for myself, and even critical because she seems so aggravated. Help us, Lord!

In a vision, Jesus told Peter not to reject or dismiss God’s children who are different. And Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment: love each other. This is how everyone will know you are my disciples.”

Forgive us, Lord, when we do not fully include everyone in your family of praise! Forgive us for our impatience, our lack of understanding, and our dismissal of those you have created. Forgive us when we fail to honor and love one another. Help us to nurture our relationships between: Those who move quickly and those who go slowly Those with clear minds and those who forget Those with sharp hearing and those who struggle to hear Those who are young and those who are old Thank you for the wild and wonderful diversity with which you have created your children! Give us strength and wisdom to learn from one another, and embrace each other.

ONE The psalmist said, “Praise the Lord! Do the same, you young men – young women, too! – you who are old together with you who are young! Let all of these praise the Lord’s name!”


I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. God will dwell with you and you will be God’s people. God will be with you as your God. God will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making all things new.”

Acts 11:1-18; Psalm 148, Revelation 21:1-6, and John 13:31-35

Paula Ziegler Ulrich, Staff Pastor, Brethren Retirement Community, Greenville, OH and on the NOAC Planning and Worship Teams

Grandparents' prayer

Holy God, Eternal Parent, Author of love and grace, we pray for grandparents, great grandparents and all who stand in the line of generations...

Go to the prayer
2011 National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) keynote presenters Curtis W. Dubble and David E. Fuchs, MD, tell the touching and powerful story of the Dubble family's experience making end-of-life decisions.
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

"Unexpected travels in healing…"

End-of-life video resource available

This hour-long video of the 2011 NOAC presentation by David Fuchs and Curtis Dubble is a helpful resource for individuals, families, deacons, and congregations as they explore end-of-life issues. Read more about the 2011 presentation here. Download the order form.

Additional resources for end-of-life decision making and death and dying are available from Brethren Press.

Departing With Dignity—A Service of Celebration

Tulip Image 80x104The Good Shepherd Home in Fostoria, Ohio, has created a brief service that celebrates the life of each resident when they die. Before the deceased’s body is removed from the Home, family members, staff, and residents who wish to participate gather to pray and say goodbye. Click to download a copy of their service, Departing with Dignity: A Service of Celebration (PDF).

Connecting Generations 200

Connecting Generations

Connecting Generations is an occasional meditation, containing a scripture, meditation, and prayer about some aspect of growing older: spiritual tasks of aging, role changes, the challenge of caregiving, transitions, and leaving our legacy. There are also questions to think about and discuss, as well as reading suggestions.

Read Connecting Generations online.