Celebrating Aging in Your Faith Community

Q: Do I show through my way of living that love of God includes affirming the equality of all people, treating others with dignity and respect, and seeking to recognize and address that of God in every person?

“Show loving consideration for all creatures, and cherish the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. Attend to pure wisdom and be teachable.”
PYM Faith and Practice, 2002

Quakers have a testimony to equality that upholds the belief that all people are equal. As such, we may not be accustomed to calling attention to any one individual, but lifting up members can be enriching and enlightening for the community. We may need to be intentional in our efforts to acknowledge the wisdom, experience and needs of elders, but we can be inclusive in acknowledging milestones for people in any age group. The ideas in this article were gathered from Quaker Meetings’ responses to a 2009 Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Care and Aging Survey, and represent a broad range of approaches.

“While we have the light, let us walk in the light. In God’s light, let us see light.”
Mary Morrison, Without Nightfall Upon the Spirit, Pendle Hill Pamphlet 311

Quaker Meetings’ Ideas for Celebrating Generations:

  • Birthday cards and celebrations
  • Portraits, audiotape and videotape stories
  • Recognition lunch or potluck supper
  • Plant a tree in a person’s honor when they turn 5, 70, or graduate high school
  • Make a donation to a cause the person cares about in honor of a special occasion
  • Deliver flowers or gifts made by children on holidays, for those who are hospitalized, living in a facility, homebound, or otherwise unable to get to meeting. Why not deliver flowers or greens from the grounds of your place of worship?
  • Religious Education program discussion of life achievements and contributions to the Meeting community
  • Invite older Friends as storytellers in first day (Sunday) school

Have more ideas to share? Please let us know!

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More articles on this website:

Celebrating Lives and Life Stories
Generational Relationships: Advices and Queries
Generativity and Aging

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”
Satchel Paige