From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Boomers - or bust!

Date 19 Jun 2002 12:57:25 -0400

Note #7274 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


Boomers - or bust!

by Alexa Smith

COLUMBUS, OH - The Rev. Herb Valentine, moderator of the 203rd General Assembly, said the Presbyterian Church (USA) needs new models of ministry for people who do not mark the primary events of their lives in traditional ways.

Valentine, interim pastor Germantown First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, spoke on "Boomers' Beliefs" during a June 18 luncheon sponsored by Older Adult Ministries.

"The Gospel is no less relevant (today)  and the needs are as real as they've ever been," Valentine said, but "Boomers" - members of the post-war "Baby Boom" generation, now in their 50s and 60s - don't regard the cycles of their lives the same way folks of comparable age did a generation ago. Valentine said they are inclined to turn to "spirituality," rather than institutional religion, for help and comfort.

Noting, for example, that adolescence ends around age 30 these days, and middle age is 60 to 75, he pointed out that "life has changed, and the church hasn't adapted very well."

Making the necessary institutional changes will require a willingness to let go of old patterns, said Valentine, who describes himself as a man with plenty of experience in changing bureaucratic models.

The luncheon was sponsored by the Association for Retired Ministers, Their Spouses and Survivors (ARMSS) and Older Adult Ministries Program staff. Participants noted that ARMSS survived the denomination's recent budget-cutting process intact, but not unchanged. Staff member Carl Horton said the association will be working cooperatively with other program areas, and will rely more on volunteers from organizations such as the Association for Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE).

John Rhea, a 40-hour-a-week volunteer in Adult Ministries, was honored for his tireless dedication to the program and the PC(USA).
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