Multi-Generational Relationships

70 plusby The Rev. Fred Pinkston

I was working in the yard one day several months ago and had a vision.  It was a picture in my mind’s eye like the seventy 70+ plus logo above.  It came without instructions.

I shared my vision with the Rev. Canon Filmore Strunk, rector of All Saints, Charlotte, and the Rev. Randy Forrester, rector of King of Kings, Charlotte, over lunch at Five Guys following our regular monthly meeting of the Anglican House at Gordon-Conwell.  Both seemed to think the vision had something to do with older men and women serving as patriarchs or matriarchs in the church.  “There is wisdom to be shared”, they said.

After talking to Bishop David, his first words were, “It’s a two-edged challenge…to the church and to those who are over seventy.” As I began to unpack this I sense the following:

The Problem
People 70 plus tend to retire or withdraw
Churches tend to marginalize people 70 plus
Wisdom and experience go wanting

The Challenge to Those 70 Plus
Accept change graciously
Freely share advice and counsel
Participate fully in the life of the church
Give generously of your time and resources

The Challenge to the Church
Seek advice from those who are 70 plus
Invite the participation of those 70 plus
Encourage multi-generational relationships
Show respect to and honor those 70 plus

The Members
Men and women who are 70 plus
Clergy and lay members of ACNA churches
Those willing to share the love of Jesus Christ
This is not a formal program within the Anglican Church of North America, but rather, as a loosely structured idea to be implemented within our congregations.  Clergy and lay leaders might support and encourage the ideas found in this outline in as many different ways as there are different people with different gifts within the congregations in ACNA.

The goal is simple – to encourage those 70+ to remain involved in the life of the church, to share their wisdom and experience with younger Christian men and women, and for the body of Christ to seek the guidance and input of those who are aging.  We cannot afford to lose the lessons learned.

The world in which we live is more and more divided by age groups.  Technology and our mobile society exacerbate those divisions.  There is much to be gained by resisting such divisions. What can you do to take advantage of multi-generational relationships?