Council offers resources for ministry with older adults

By Doug Collins Special Contributor It was 50 years ago that I set off to college and began my journey into adulthood. I would never have imagined living in Little Rock near two of my three children, a daughter-in-law, son-in-law and five grandchildren. When I left for college in 1964, I traveled 1,738 miles from New Hampshire to the wilds of South Dakota where I attended a Methodist university. While I was driving across the country in my 1960 Volkswagen Bug, and on all the subsequent trips back to my hometown, I didn’t give much thought about what I would do if I had a breakdown or needed some assistance. I didn’t give it much thought because I was a young man on an adventure. But I also didn’t worry because I knew if I needed help along the way, all I had to do was find the nearest Methodist church, knock on the door, and when the door opened, say “I’m a good Methodist from New Hampshire and I need help!” My belief in our connectional system gave me a strong confidence that help and compassion would be provided no matter what might befall me. It’s that same confidence that motivates me now to volunteer my time on the Older Adult Ministry Council in the pursuit of providing help, compassion, and resources to the aging adults, Methodist and non-Methodist, in Arkansas. Over the last several years, the Adult and Older Adult Council of the Arkansas Conference has been proactive in creating awareness and providing resources to adults and older adults in and around the church. The council’s Living with No Regrets video series, produced in 2010, has been revised and updated with funding provided through a grant from the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas. The study has received national recognition, including a Telly Award. Carol OrsbornOctober 3-4, 2014, the Older Adult Council is hosting a conference, “Builders, Boomers and Busters: Bridging into the 21st Century,” at St. James United Methodist Church Little Rock. Among the workshop leaders and keynote presenters is Dr. Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., a national expert on the Boomer generation and editor-in-chief of Fierce with Age: The Digest of Boomer Wisdom, Inspiration and Spirituality. She’s authored 21 books, including Fierce with Age: Chasing God and Squirrels in Brooklyn (Turner, 2013). Also presenting will be Will Randolph of the Office of Aging and Older Adult Ministry, United Methodist General Board of Discipleship; and Randy Frazier, a motivational speaker from Little Rock known for his wisdom, humor and storytelling. More information will be available in the coming weeks and months about this top-notch conference. In honor of Older Adult Recognition Month and for the connectional system we call the United Methodist Church, I want to encourage you to use your talent, influence and spirit to thank those who have come before us and honor them by continuing their good work of caring for the least and the lost, and reaching beyond the walls of the church to care for strangers. Collins is a member of Trinity UMC Little Rock and the Arkansas Conference Older Adult Ministry Council.