By Porsche Barton
RUFFIN—The older adults of Buckhead United Methodist Church are doing their part to show age is merely a number by taking charge of their lives, becoming more active and moving toward living healthier and happier lifestyles.
Although it is fairly new, the church’s older adults ministry is growing in strength through outreach to older members of the church and its surrounding communities.
The ministry keeps things new and exciting for the older adults by planning various activities that give them the opportunity to engage in fun and fellowship with each other and other aging souls in the Ruffin area. The group encourages people not to let anything limit them from living and enjoying the many blessings of God and life.
“Even though it says ‘older adults,’ they can do anything they want to do if they just get out there and try,” said Priscilla McClellan, director and coordinator for the ministry. “The church has always concentrated on the children—a lot of the members are getting older—so we wanted to make sure they’re taken care of, helping and encouraging them along the way.”
The ministry hosts activities such as ice cream socials, game day, movie night, talent shows, sing-alongs, crafts and recreation time. But the fun does not end there, McClellan said. There has even been a fashion show, where models wore creatively designed costumes made of soda cans, tea bags, flowers and other items.
This August, they will host “An Evening of Elegance,” a formal event where the older adults can dress up in their Sunday best and enjoy a lively evening filled with food and music.
Marie Thompson, of Hickory Hill UMC, also coordinates activities with the Buckhead older adults ministry. Thompson said how excited everyone is about what’s to come for the ministry. She enjoys working with the older adults and said it gives them something to do and something to look forward to.
As a part of a the “Eat Smart, Move More” health initiative in the area, the ministry created “Faithful Families,” a six-week program that gave older adults the opportunity to take cooking classes, learn about healthy eating habits, learn kitchen safety when cooking and learn how to make new recipes. As another part of the initiative, the older adults participated in various health classes, where a registered nurse visited and taught them about diet, exercise, diabetes and other illnesses.
“It makes me aware that older adults can live happy lives and healthy lives,” said volunteer Susan Alls. “To me, that is important—knowing that these men or women are over 70 and I’m encouraging them to change their ways of doing things.”
Alls said being able to encourage them makes her feel like a better person. “I could do some of the same things when I’m older,” she said.
As a part of the ministry, Alls performs various tasks that cater to the older adults, from helping plan events, taking them to the doctor or picking things up from the drug store or supermarket, to visiting those who are homebound.
At its core, the older adults ministry at Buckhead is speaking love and life into the older adults in the church and in the community, letting them know that they can still live happy lives enriched with the joy of God’s blessings.