Our Churches Clergy Directory Districts Staff

November 12, 2010

Applications for grants to support caregiving ministries for older adults are now being accepted by the Center on Aging & Older Adult Ministries at the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship

Richard H. Gentzler Jr., the center’s director, says submissions from local United Methodist congregations, districts, annual conferences, central conferences and UM-related institutions may be submitted until the deadline on Jan. 15, 2011.

“Living in our youth-oriented culture, it is difficult for many of us, including church leaders, to truly appreciate the needs and concerns of older adults,” Gentzler says. “… Through their longevity, older adults can continue to make meaningful contributions to the community: as purveyors of wisdom, examples of faith and resources for the historical grounding of our young.”

Funding for the grants is provided by The United Methodist Committee on Older Adult Ministries, which is administratively related to GBOD. During the current quadrennium, the committee is making grants to support two specific areas of older adult ministries—caregiving ministry and intergenerational ministry.

Earlier this year, 38 grants totaling $75,000 were awarded for intergenerational ministries. They included projects and programs in all five UM jurisdictions and the central conferences.

The intergenerational ministry grants provided support for a variety of projects, including efforts to connect young and old through visual arts programs, youth-senior tutoring sessions, conversations at special dinner events and the structured sharing of stories about life experiences. In other ministries, widows and orphans are being linked in an adopt-a-grandparent program, and children and older adults will come together for a community garden project.

Intergenerational or multi-generational ministry within the community of faith is a blessing, Gentzler says, because “a church filled with young and old is a gift and a treasure for all generations.”

For the current grant-making process, the program or project submitted for grant consideration must provide a caregiving ministry or address an issue of caregiving ministry with older adults. The ministry must be consistent with the doctrine and social principles of The United Methodist Church.

“Though we may not be able to fund every project, the United Methodist Committee on Older Adult Ministries will make every effort to be conscientious in its decision-making process.” Gentzler said.

Grant applications are available online at www.aging-umc.org. For more information, contact project coordinator Teri Kline at the Center for Aging & Older Adult Ministries by phone toll free at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 7177, or by e-mail at tkline@gbod.org.