Acting on a recommendation from the 217th General Assembly (2006), two Presbyterian groups have signed a partnership agreement that will help their different older adult ministries stay connected.
The agreement between the Office of Church Growth, part of the General Assembly Mission Council, and the Presbyterian Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (PAHSA) isn’t financial; rather, it solidifies an existent contact, said the Rev. Philip Lotspeich, coordinator of church growth.
“We see our older adults as a very important part of the church,” he said, adding that the office hopes the agreement will be a symbol of that commitment.
The agreement, which was initially a recommendation from the Older Adult Task Force report adopted by the 217th GA, encourages networking, educational and advocacy opportunities between the groups.
According to the agreement, the Office of Church Growth will share related work of the GAMC with PAHSA, monitor GA overtures related to older adults and distribute PAHSA resources at meetings.
For its part, PAHSA will advocate for older adults within governing bodies, provide models for older adult ministry to presbyteries and congregations and report on the status and needs of its members.
PAHSA is a nonprofit organization that represents more than 350 Presbyterian-sponsored residential communities, health care facilities and services to older adults of all faiths.
Most of its member organizations began with a connection to a congregation or presbytery, said Judy Brown, director of PAHSA.
“We want to maintain that connection,” she said. “(Older adults) provide the history, their memories and their traditions — it’s not something you want to lose.”