Church of the Good Shepherd - update Mar09

Sunday, 1 March, 2009

Michael Collyer talks about fresh expression of church amongst older people and Trish Calvert explains how the Church of the Good Shepherd is bringing church to older people where they are.

Duration: 5:02   | Download Download mp3

Transcript

Introducer: So often when we think of fresh expressions of church, into our minds pop images of young people and skate parks, or a Messy Church afternoon for the whole family. We don't often picture the older generation. Michael Colyer is from the Church Army's research unit, The Sheffield Centre, and is a commissioned Church Army Evangelist. His main role is to explore evangelism, spiritual needs and fresh expressions of church amongst older people.

Michael Colyer: The mindset of the church when it talks about mission to older people automatically think of elderly frail people over the age of probably 75, 80iosh. But actually there's what we call the Saga generation, it's the mission blindspot of people coming up to retirement, people who've just retired, indeed Mick Jagger for instance is now coming up to having his 65th birthday, so what kind of church for the Mick Jagger generation?

Introducer: And whilst there is a great need for the church to be mission-shaped when responding to the needs of those who are recently retired, it's also important to be more imaginative about reaching those who are in infirm or housebound. Trish Calvert works for the Church of the Good Shepherd in the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury Methodist District, which aims to bring church to older people where they are and accompany them on their spiritual journey.

Trish Calvert: Right, we're just going to visit Marjorie and I've been visiting her at home for the last couple of years, and here we are at her house.

[Knocking.]

[Trish Calvert: Hello Marjorie.

Female voice 1: Hello, hello! Lovely to see you, come in.

Trish Calvert: Thank you.

Female voice 1: Yes, well you go on in, sit where you like.]

Trish Calvert: As we become older, health and circumstances often change and prevent church attendance. And so the idea was that we would form a special ministry for them that takes the church to them, where we can gather together, sometimes with friends or neighbours, and share fellowship.

Female voice 1: Oh well, now what do we do, we talk about current affairs, you know, and I do appreciate talking about the faith and the things about Jesus.

Trish Calvert: It really goes back to that lovely verse in the Acts of the Apostles where the fellowships gathered in one another's home for prayer, for fellowship and for the breaking of bread, and I often think that's what we're doing in the Church of the Good Shepherd. Housebound members can invite neighbours or friends to come and join in with this very special service.

Introducer: And Michael Colyer believes that church for older people is vital, as the average age of the UK population steadily increases.

Michael Colyer: Older people now cover half a century – 55 to 105 – and that's a vast section of our population that needs to be taken seriously. And what would encourage me enormously would be to see the church confronting the challenge of mission to older people.

Female voice 2: No I'm not able to go to church at the moment, no, that's why I appreciate someone who comes and talks to us and discuss everything in the world and in the church and various things that are going on. So all about our families and all our problems!

Male voice 1: Yes, we have a Bible reading from Trish when she comes and communion as well. So she brings peace to us I think.

Trish Calvert: One of the things that I feel is important with all the people that I visit is that they don't feel that they're on their own. It's been an aim of mine to help them have an awareness of all the people who are in very similar circumstances to them, and to know that through my visits we can link up and through the Church of the Good Shepherd we hope to continue to walk with them to the end of their lives.

Introducer: Trish Calvert talking there about an unusual network church for older people in the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury Methodist District. And if you'd like to find out more about the spiritual needs of older people, please do visit the Church Army website, churcharmy.org.uk, to find out more about this or to view some short videos of a wide range of Church Army work. Or you can visit our website, freshexpressions.org.uk.

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