‘Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations’. Deuteronomy 7 v 9 (ESV)
Welcome to this October newsletter, which is a special one as it marks two years since Faith in Later Life was launched. Many of you will have taken an interest in, and supported, our work since we began, and for that we are so thankful. Firstly, I thank God for His goodness and faithfulness, and the favour He has shown our work. But I also want to warmly thank you for all the varying ways you have supported our work, and prayed for it, and us.
I hope you enjoy reading this month’s newsletter; and as ever, please do invite others to sign up to receive our news.
Having faith in later life
Over the last two years since the launch of Faith in Later Life, our work has grown sometimes at quite a pace, as God has blessed what we are doing. We exist to encourage and equip churches to serve and empower their older members, and against a backdrop often of loneliness and disenfranchisement, to reach older people in wider communities everywhere- that all may know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and be affirmed in their identity in Christ.
To do this we cultivated an online resource hub, producing or signposting to resources relating to a variety of different aspects of later life- through a Christian lens. We now have over 150, of which over half are free to download and print.
We also have a national interactive database of church run community focused activities, at which older people are particularly welcome. We pray that as older people are aware that churches are opening their doors, they would come into Christian community, and ultimately into relationship with Christ. Since our launch, this database has grown to 2400 activities nationwide. Is your church’s activity on our map? If not, please tell us so we can add it! Have a look by clicking here.
In the last year we have launched an (inter)national network of ‘Church Champions’ (more on this below) as we seek to build closer non-internet related links with churches. We have Church Champions across 34 counties in England, as well as in Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland- as well as further afield in France, USA, Pakistan, Malawi, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan and Kenya.
It is exciting to hear comments like the below, as we exist to be a Christian voice for Seniors, and to support, encourage and enable:
“Nothing is more important than seeing lives transformed, so I feel it was in God’s perfect timing that I discovered your website and that gave me the confidence to trust and know that the vision in my heart needed to be fulfilled- thank you!”
– Church Champion, Staffordshire, upon setting up a new Seniors group at her church.
And since January alone, we have spoken on Christian media and BBC local radio, to over a million people, as a Christian voice championing older people, and seeking to encourage churches in their ministries with Seniors.
Much more has happened too, growth in supporters, interest from Christian circles and Local Authorities, becoming members of Evangelical Alliance as well as Affinity, a book being written, resources planned, and a conference happening next May. (You can find out more about that here).
In all this we pray that many older Christians are being affirmed in their churches, and older Seniors in communities everywhere are being welcomed into church; and ultimately coming to a personal faith in the Lord Jesus. We praise God for all things and thank you for your support and interest.
What happens to faith when Christians get dementia?
“Thousands of people in the UK and around the world are living with dementia. Many are Christians who are part of a local church. Perhaps you, or someone you know, is starting this journey. So, what happens to our faith if we get dementia? And how can we as fellow believers support one another and nurture our faith through this experience?” To read the rest of this month’s blog on our website do click here.
Last month saw more Faith in Later Life ‘Church Champions’ registered in churches across the UK, but we also had Church Champions from Kenya and Pakistan join our growing network. Does your church have a ‘Church Champion’? To request more information or express an interest, do visit our website here.
We are taking bookings for church visits in 2020, if you would benefit from training in a particular area, or you would like a visit from me to your Seniors group, or your church service, do get in touch.
This time of year is one where plans are reviewed and shaped for the following year, and finances prayerfully considered. By God’s grace we will continue to speak as a Christian voice for older people; and seek to equip churches in serving and empowering their older Christians. We trust our Lord will provide, and I would ask that you prayerfully consider whether you are able to make a small regular contribution (or one off gift) to our work, to help us with planning, and meeting growing need. No amount is too small. And in everything, we thank God. If you would like to give you can do so via our website by clicking here, otherwise you are welcome to contact me directly via email or on 0300 303 8405.
On the 14th November we are holding an event for various Christian leaders, parliamentarians and supporters of Faith in Later Life, as we mark two years of Faith in Later Life. Please pray that this event is a success, and glorifies God, as we seek to do His work.
Once again, thank you for your prayers and support over the last two years; we thank God for you, and for His goodness to us.
Yours in Christ,
Director, Faith in Later Life