The Church needs its Seniors

Welcome to this month’s Faith in Later Life newsletter- we hope you enjoy reading it! As ever, if there is any content you would like to see in our newsletters which is currently missing (or anything you would rather not see), do get in touch.

If you were away over the summer months you may have missed the video that we shared on our website and across Social Media. I wanted to share it again, as it is wonderful to be reminded of some of what Scripture says about older age- but the video also rightly challenges what are all too often commonly held stereotypes. This video has reached over 11,500 people just through our Facebook page and 78% of those who viewed it were 55 and over, with 43% aged 65 and over. You can watch it on our website here.

Less faith in later life?

The Telegraph newspaper[1] recently reported figures released by the National Centre for Social Research that suggest that the number of over 55s who say they are in the Church of England has fallen from almost half to just over one in four, in 15 years.

The sharpest drop was among 45 to 54 year olds, from 35 per cent in 2002 to 11 per cent in 2017. Among young people, aged 18-24, the proportion fell to just two per cent. The researchers said the figures suggested that young people were no longer finding faith as they got older.

Roger Harding, head of public attitudes at the National Centre for Social Research, said: “It suggests that particularly for the Church of England and Church of Scotland, their decreasing numbers aren’t going to be corrected with people getting older. It’s likely that as people get older they’ll continue to have no religion.”

Whether a fully accurate picture or not, and irrespective of denomination, we know we want our loved ones and those around us to know the saving grace of the Lord Jesus, and this often feels more urgent for those in their later years. Our website provides helpful guidance on how to best approach seniors evangelism, do visit our website to have a look.

Dementia from the Inside: a doctor’s personal journey of hope

We are looking forward to an excellent forthcoming book by Dr Jennifer Bute about dementia, to be published in mid November. It has been described as both inspirational and practical. A number of Dr Bute’s materials are already available from our resource hub, and upon publication this new book will also be available to order on our website.

Professor Derek Waller, Deputy Medical Director and Clinical IT lead, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust writes, ‘Jennifer has effectively used her skills as a doctor and teacher to provide insights that that will be invaluable to anyone who comes into contact with someone with dementia.’

Dr Bute FRCGP, is a retired GP who lives with dementia and whose expertise combined with her faith make her an inspiration to many. To watch a recent seminar by Dr Bute, click here to go to our website.

Latest news

In an article on earlier this month, the Salvation Army has encouraged churches to offer more activities focused on the elderly. This followed research by Newcastle University and the London School of Economics suggesting that the number of adults aged 85 and over needing round-the-clock care will almost double to 446,000 in England by 2035. You can read the article in the “What’s new” section of our website here.

Yours in Christ,

Carl Knightly
Director, Faith in Later Life