Playing the organ at 90!

Welcome to this month’s Faith in Later Life newsletter- whether you are at home or at work, on holidays or otherwise, I hope you enjoy it. You may have already noticed, but we have made some changes to the website, which hopefully make it easier to navigate; do have a look and let us know how you get on. You can click here to go to the website.

Churches voluntary work worth £3 billion a year

Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all (Age UK, 2016), and it’s widely known that feelings of loneliness are as detrimental to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (Age UK, 2018). Yet there would be millions more lonely people were it not for thousands of churches stepping into the gaps left by social funding cuts.  The value of their voluntary work is £3 billion, (2017/2018) according to research published by the Cinnamon Network in May this year. i

Christian volunteers are running lunch clubs, day centres, crafts and special interest groups, dementia cafes, and support groups for carers, including ‘Afters’ Clubs’ for those re-socialising after years of solitary caring, running befriending services and more.  If you are thinking of starting such an initiative, we have advice and resources about what to consider, on our website. Click here for more.

Eight decades on the organ

A 90-year-old musician is being hailed as the UK’s oldest organ player – after playing for nearly eight decades. Denis Nichols first passed his piano exam at the age of nine, and only two years later he was asked to play on the organ at his local church. The vicar told Mr Nichols, aged 11 at the time, to play for the church service after their organ player dropped out.

After accepting the challenge, Mr Nichols realised from that moment on, how much he enjoyed playing on the organ – despite finding it difficult to reach the pedals. “Obviously my legs weren’t long enough at the time, but they grew on me”.

Mr Nichols plays at St Peter’s Church in Yoxford, Suffolk every fourth or fifth Sunday of the month. ii

Holiday at home?

On our Facebook page I recently asked our 450+ Facebook supporters whether their churches were holding a “Holiday at Home” week this month, for Seniors, and I was delighted to be told of one called “Welcome to Italy” being held at a church in Nottingham later in the month. If your church holds any activities that older people can be invited to, please let us know so we can put them on our Faith in Action Directory, so others are aware.

Latest news

In a recent edition of Affinity Magazine, Revd Roger Hitchings writes about the challenges of an older society, and the role “Faith in Later Life” can have in supporting churches and Christians. You can read the article here.

Yours in Christ,

Carl Knightly
Director, Faith in Later Life