A new initiative between five leading Christian charities was launched yesterday focusing on the profound societal consequences of the ageing UK population.
Faith in Later Life seeks to present the challenge in a way that will inform, equip, encourage and inspire individual Christians and churches to lead the change needed so that older people in every community in the UK can live fulfilled, productive and dignified lives.
As a partnership between Pilgrims’ Friend Society, The Salvation Army, London City Mission, Mission Care, and Keychange Charity, the campaign identifies that far too often an ageing population is portrayed in terms of being an ‘issue’ and ‘problem’. But the attitude towards older people described in the Bible is very different and a very real challenge to 21st century Christians in the UK.
Lord Mackay of Clashfern, who hosted the launch said, ”The Bible describes older people as having a vital role to play in the church and in society and we are blessed that advances in medicine mean that there will be a significant increase in their numbers. Many of these will be Christians who will be seeking to know how they can continue to work out their faith in later life. Many are living increasingly lonely and isolated lives and they need to hear the good news of the gospel. These are siginficant opportunities and challenges and I am delighted that “Faith in Later Life” has been launched to help churches and Christian people respond.”
Faith in Later Life has commissioned a study by London Seminary into the theology of old age and built a library of information and resources relative to later life which will be accessible via a new website. In addition, the website brings together different evangelism resources for use with older people and provides links and ideas on how best to engage those who are in later life.
Alan Hare, Project Manager for Faith in Later Life commented, “If Jesus were alive today to survey the harvest field for his Church he would have noticed many older people. Faith in Later Life seeks to inspire and equip Christians living with and working with older people as other organisations have been doing over many years for Christian youth work. Anyone involved in working with older people should visit the Faith in Later Life website, sign up for our newsfeeds and use the form on the website to tell us about the work that they are doing. We are committed to acting on the feedback received”
For more information and access to the library of resources go to www.faithinlaterlife.org.