At the Pilgrims’ Friend Society’s (PFS) May 2016 thanksgiving service in Harrogate, four key speakers gave a well-rounded insight into the ministry of this charity working with older people.
Pastor Dr Tim Chester, was the plenary speaker and presented a talk on ‘The beauty of an intergenerational church’, taking Titus 2 as his text.
He spoke about how his prayer life had been influenced strongly by an older Christian man’s prayer life, and said, ‘Titus 2 encourages us to pursue those kinds of relationships’. Healthy Christian communities and spiritual life are nurtured by having intergenerational relationships.
‘Paul has different exhortations for different groups of people and different age ranges in the church. If you are in your 20s, don’t live life like a teenager, on your X-Box all the time. If you are in your 60s and 70s, don’t spend your time wishing you were still young. Live life in the present; serve God in the role, in the stage of life, he has given to you in the present’. A healthy Christian life, he said, was a ‘community in which people are discipling one another across the generations’.
Chairman Alan Copeman talked on the subject, ‘Grey men with grey policies and grey oratory’, while treasurer Alan Hare gave the financial report 2015/16. PFS chief executive Stephen Hammersley gave a message entitled, ‘Looking back, looking forward’. He said: ‘Our goals are that Christian care will be available in every single city and town in this country; through distinctively Christian homes where we have got them; and through churches’ outreach, enabled by our resources where we don’t.
‘This is a very big vision, supported by some ambitious goals’, Mr Hammersley said. Former PFS trustee and pastor Roger Hitchings talked about fruitfulness in one’s later years. His talk is in the latest edition of the PFS magazine.
He said, while most people focus on the negative side of growing old, the Bible teaches us to have a wider perspective and ‘that older people are essential to balanced church life’.