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Episcopal Church Older Adult Ministries Task Force addresses issues of older adults, offers resources

April 12, 2011

Thanks to the Older Adult Ministries Task Force, issues and concerns of the aging population are being recognized and addressed, and online resources are available. Additionally, through the Task Force, the Episcopal Church is giving attention to the future and the possible impact and implications of an aging population on congregations.

“The reality of the first Baby Boomer turning 65 affects many aspects of our society, challenging policymakers, families, businesses, health care providers and church leaders at all levels to recognize the needs and attributes of aging individuals,” noted Task Force Co-convener Jeri Sedlar of the Diocese of New York. “The effects of aging encompass the emotional, physical, social, financial and spiritual aspects of a person as they age.”

Created by General Convention 2009 Resolution D004, the Task Force is also gathering data on older adult ministries currently in place in congregations and dioceses throughout the church.

“The Task Force on Older Adult Ministries was created by General Convention to determine what is already available, and to ascertain what is needed,” commented Task Force Co-convener Missy Morain of the Diocese of Los Angeles. “Older adults are an important part of our church, and we are focused on developing the voice of ministries with, by and to Older Adults and their families.”

Grounding its work in lifelong faith formation, the Task Force has focused on: preparing resolutions for General Convention 2012 which respond appropriately to trends and needs of an aging population; taking a leadership position on elder abuse; and piloting an Elder Abuse training webinar in the Lexington, KY (Diocese of Lexington)

The Task Force’s projects include: a survey of “ promising practice” programs in dioceses and congregations by, for and with older adults; the development of an older-friendly church checklist; conducting two pilot programs, in the Dioceses of Lexington and Washington, to advocate for and to support Old Americans Month in May 2011

The Task Force works closely with the Episcopal Church Office of Lifelong Christian Formation, as Older Adult Ministries is an integral aspect of the lifelong process of Christian formation.


At General Convention 2009, Resolution D004 established the Task Force on Older Adult Ministries “to determine programs currently being offered by congregations, dioceses and provinces, to establish a method of sharing this information, and to explore ways the church can expand this ministry to connect with one another in intergenerational opportunities” and to prepare a “comprehensive plan to raise awareness and address the emerging crisis in health, caregiving and faith issues which cross generational and economic lines with emphasis on support of Congregational, Diocesan and Provincial programs for older adult ministry.”

The Task Force is charged with reporting annually to Executive Council and in writing to the 77th General Convention, slated for July 2012 in Indianapolis IN.

Cited in the resolution were such facts as:

  • One in every eight Americans is age 65 or older

  • Over one in four live alone.

  • Within 10 years, the age 85+ population will increase by 40%.

Task Force Members

In addition to co-conveners Morain and Sedlar, the Task Force members are: John Belzer and Alma Belzer, Diocese of Oklahoma; Christy Campbell, Church Pension Fund; Bob Carlson, Diocese of Pennsylvania; Matt Ellis, Diocese of Indianapolis; Bud Holland, Diocese of Pennsylvania; Melody Marshall, Diocese of Florida; Ruth Mitman, Diocese of Connecticut; Rose Samuels representing Native American ministries, Diocese of Long Island; Gary Stewart, Diocese of Lexington; Pam Tester, Diocese of Lexington; Ken Forde, Diocese of New York; and Ruth-Ann Collins, Episcopal Church Adult Formation and Lifelong Learning Officer and staff liaison.


The following are web-based resources:

Episcopal Church Older Adult ministries and formation:

Books, articles, videos, etc.:

Best practices, case studies and other topics:

To offer ideas as well as information about current programs for older adults, contact

The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

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Nancy Cox Davidge
Public Affairs Officer