Older Adult Month

Celebrate older adults in your congregation

Each May, the Church of the Brethren observes Older Adult Month, an opportunity to celebrate God’s gift of aging and the contributions of older adults in our congregations. This year, we invite you and your congregation to consider the gifts older adults give to other generations—how they help to raise children in our congregations, mentor younger adults in their faith, and the legacy they are leaving for the future.

Worship resources below are based on Psalm 145:4: "One generation shall laud God’s work to another and shall declare God’s might acts," and a reading from Acts (2:42-47) that speaks about the way in which people of all ages and circumstances came together in the early church, sharing all that they had with each other. Psalm 145:4 is the theme for this year’s national older adult conference, Inspiration 2017

These resources were written collaboratively by people from different generations and encourage those from various generations to participate together in worship. This provides an opportunity to bring together Youth Sunday and Older Adult Month this year celebrating church as an intergenerational community. For additional intergenerational activities, see the 2016 Older Adult Month page. Ideas, activities and resources from previous years are also accessible online.

Worship Resources for 2017

Generations Celebrating Faith (Psalm 145:4 & Acts 2:42-47)

Call to Worship

by Rachel & David Witkovsky

  • ONE: Peter called to the people
  • ALL: Inviting them into unity and solidarity in Christ
  • ONE: To break bread together
  • ALL: And to worship together
  • ONE: We too hear the call
  • ALL: To join the many generations before us
  • ONE: Worshiping a God whose love transcends time and age
  • ALL: Telling the stories of God’s mighty acts in our midst
  • ONE: Let us praise God together, all of us,
  • ALL: Young and old, rich and poor, one people united in a celebration of faith.

Scripture Jam

by Rachel & David Witkovsky

(adapted from NRSV translation and MSG paraphrase of Acts 2:42-47 and Psalm 145:4)

  • ONE: Peter spoke,
  • TWO: And they listened.
  • THREE: They actually listened to him.
  • ONE: That day,
  • TWO: That very same day,
  • THREE: about three thousand took him at his word.
  • ONE: They were baptized,
  • TWO: They signed up.
  • THREE: They committed themselves,
  • ONE: devoted themselves,
  • TWO: to the teaching of the apostles,
  • THREE: life together,
  • ONE: Fellowship,
  • TWO: the common meal,
  • THREE & TWO: breaking of bread,
  • THREE, TWO, & ONE: and the prayers.
  • (FOUR, FIVE, and SIX stand apart from the other three)
  • FOUR: Generation after generation
  • FIVE: stands in awe of your work
  • SIX: each one tells stories
  • FOUR, FIVE & SIX: of your mighty acts.
  • ONE: It was awe-some.
  • TWO: Everyone around was in awe
  • THREE: awe came upon everyone.
  • ONE: wonders
  • TWO: and signs
  • THREE: done through the apostles!
  • ONE: The believers lived in a wonderful harmony,
  • TWO: holding everything in common.
  • THREE: They sold everything,
  • ONE: whatever they owned,
  • TWO: everything
  • THREE: and pooled their resources
  • ONE: so that each person’s need was met.
  • FOUR: Generation after generation
  • FIVE: stands in awe of your work
  • SIX: each one tells stories
  • FOUR, FIVE & SIX: of your mighty acts.
  • TWO: Day by day,
  • THREE: as they spent much time together,
  • ONE: They followed a daily discipline,
  • TWO: worship in the Temple
  • THREE: meals at home,
  • ONE: and every meal was a celebration,
  • TWO: filled with glad and generous hearts!
  • THREE: They were exuberant,
  • THREE & ONE: and joyful,
  • THREE, ONE, & TWO: as they praised God!
  • ONE: People liked what they saw.
  • TWO: day by day,
  • THREE: their number grew,
  • ONE: the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
  • FOUR & ONE: Generation after generation
  • FIVE & TWO: stands in awe of your work
  • SIX & THREE: each one tells stories
  • ALL READERS: of your mighty acts.

Children’s Story

by Tyler Roebuck

A Celebration of Faith

This is intended to be read by 3 people: an older adult, a younger adult (with young children), and a child (late elementary or middle school). Could be a grandparent/parent/child group.

  • A: (child’s name), do you know what today’s scripture is about?
  • C: Yes! It’s about celebrating acts of faith!
  • A: That’s right! And did you know the Church of the Brethren has a famous man who acted out of faith, and has saved many lives because of it? His name was Dan West. Dan saw starving people in the world, and felt sad for them. He wanted to help them and give them food to eat.
  • C: That’s really nice of him!
  • OA: Sure was! But instead of just giving them food, he started a program that gave people cows and goats and chicken and all sorts of animals so that they could keep having food to eat for a long time. When the cows the hungry people got gave birth to calves, the family was supposed to give the babies to other families who didn’t have food so that they could eat.
  • C: Wow, he sure did help a lot of people! He must have had strong faith!
  • OA: It was very strong indeed. Can you think of anyone who is living today that acts strongly out of faith?
  • C: Um… Yeah! There was a guy who came to our school to talk about the environment. I think his name was David.
  • A: You’re right! David Radcliff is his name. What do you know about David and what he does?
  • C: He helps with the rainforests by planting trees everywhere! Oh, and he also lives really carefully so that he only uses as many resources as he needs to survive. I think he called it “sustainable living.”
  • A: He also helps with programs in Nepal and all over the world that help women and girls get an education and find a safe place to live. He has a pretty deep faith too, doesn’t he?
  • C: I’d say so. What about you, (older adult’s name)? Do you know anyone who acts out of faith?
  • OA: I once heard of a young person, not too different from you, who did a mighty act of faith even though she’s only 11. Her name is Gretchen, and she’s from Goshen, Indiana. Do you remember the Chibok girls who were kidnapped in Nigeria?
  • C: I think so. They’re still gone, aren’t they?
  • OA: Yes, and the Church is still sending aid to help our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. Well Gretchen was so filled with compassion when she heard of their kidnapping that she started a small store right in her church to raise money for the Nigerian Crisis fund. Through selling her little Knick Knacks for Nigeria, Gretchen has sent more than $500 to help our friends there. So you see, no matter your age, you can do great things out of faith.

Call to Giving

by Dana & Karen Cassell

  • One: How do we know how to be church?
  • All: We know how to be church by learning from the wisdom of those who have gone before us.
  • One: And what did they do?
  • All: The scripture tells us that the people in the very first church
    ...were devoted
    ...were together
    ...gave
    ...met
    ...broke bread
    ...and they praised God!
  • One: May our giving this morning be an expression of our devotion and our praise.

Benediction

by Rachel & David Witkovsky

May the God of ages past, the God of this day, and the God of tomorrow, this One God of eternal love and guidance, bless you and keep you.

May God’s love shine on you here in this place and be a light to your path as you go out into the world.

May God’s people be awestruck by the movement of God in our lives and may we multiply God’s love in our acts and deeds.

May we celebrate a faith that is as ancient as the stones around us and as relevant as the air we breathe.

Go in peace.

Benediction (Psalm 145: 2)

by Dana & Karen Cassell

It's Sunday, a day we set aside for praising God, but let's remember the words of the psalmist and say together, "EVERY day we will praise God!"

For Ongoing Discussion

This month provides an opportunity to have significant conversations about changes in perspective that occur as we age. Missy Buchanan, who will speak at Inspiration 2017 this September, has authored a wonderful book (published by Upper Room Books) helping adult children and aging parents talk with each other and God about what matters most. Each chapter invites us to consider a scripture text and a topic: from money to doctors to friends to laughter to death to dignity. Sharing a dialogue between those of different generations opens up discussion and gives permission for our own thoughts and feelings to be shared. Each chapter closes with a simple prayer. A recommended resource for adult Christian Education classes, a book study, or an intergenerational retreat.