Tuesday’s inspiration – National Older Adult Conference 2017

Church of the Brethren Newsline
September 5, 2017

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford.

Early morning

Tuesday started with several devotion opportunities. Annual Conference Moderator Samuel Sarpiya led devotions on The Terrace front porch and General Secretary David Steele at Inspiration Point, above the cross outside of the Lambuth Inn (if interested in attending, note that this is a slight change from the published location).

Bible study

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford.

Stephen Breck Reid, Professor of Christian Scriptures at the George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco, Texas, gave a lively and sometimes hilarious take on what leadership means in the church, comparing Moses to John Wayne. (Would you want to be mentored by John Wayne?)

In a serious moment, he talked about real leadership: “The office of servant of God is a major office…. This is about serving as we might think of giving one’s whole being to the office.”

View the recording of the Bible study at https://livestream.com/livingstreamcob/NOAC2017/videos/162317409.

Keynote address

Missy Buchanan speaking at Inspiration 2017 – National Older Adult Conference. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford.

Author and speaker Missy Buchanan focused on the need for communication between the sandwich generation and their parents, asking, “Are the generations talking with each other about the journey of aging? …Are we talking to each other or are we just talking to our peer groups?… We’re all aging. It’s something we have in common. …We’ve got to quit talking about an ‘us vs. them’”

“It takes communication and respect to faithfully navigate the journey of aging”

“There is ageism in our churches…. Ageism often causes congregations to neglect the spiritual and emotional needs of older adults.”

Buchanan quoted a 99-year-old friend who said that we talk about gaining all this wisdom over the years. “Why doesn’t anyone ever ask me for it?”

She concluded, “God designed the church at its best when old and young serve alongside each other…. God is every bit as interested in old as he is in young.”

Buchanan signed books and did a presentation talk-back later in the day.

Watch the recording at https://livestream.com/livingstreamcob/NOAC2017/videos/162320959.

Elementary school visit

Thirty-three volunteers went to Junaluska Elementary School to read books about Heifer International:

  • Flora and the Runaway Rooster
  • Faith the Cow
  • Beatrice’s Goat
  • Give a Goat
  • The Seagoing Cowboy

In addition, Libby Kinsey played guitar and sang. Following the program, the school provided a reception for the NOAC volunteers.

School kits

Volunteers assembled 350 school kits in about an hour and a half. They ran out of some items and had to go shopping for additional supplies. Kits will be assembled on Wednesday also.

Interest groups and activities

Tuesday’s interest groups included Brethren Values Investing, Compassionate Communication with Elderly Persons with Dementia, Preserving a Historical Legacy, Gay and Gray, Alaska Gardening, “Fake News,” photography, Tie-Dye, and Gentle Yoga.

A number of women in ministry shared stories from around the world in a session titled “Older Women Save the World.”

In “Singing Through the African American Experience,” participants enjoyed sacred African American music from the hymn book – done Brethren style and in the livelier, more authentic versions.

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Some NOACers took a pontoon boat ride on Lake Junaluska; others toured the gardens and grounds. A “Tee and tea” outing took place at the Lake Junaluska Golf Course, offering both a round of golf or afternoon tea.

Storyteller Jonathan Hunter touched the hearts of listeners in an afternoon program of “Stories from the Depths.”

Watch the recording of Jonathan Hunter.


The indescribable and incomparable NOAC News Team presented a retrospective, with clips of some of their “Greatest Hits.”

Enjoy Ken Medema’s song created for the NOAC news team at

Ice cream and coffee

Evening activities included an ice cream social and a (decaf) coffee house featuring a variety of acts including storytelling, poetry reading, and many different musical groups. The crowd filled the room, with people sitting on the floor and standing at the back.

Find Inspiration 2017 – National Older Adult Conference photos, resources, videos and more at www.brethren.org/noac2017.

Go to www.brethren.org/Newsline to subscribe to the Church of the Brethren Newsline free e-mail news service and receive church news every week.

[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]