January 2, 2024

Directions – January-February 2024

This idea was shared by Ascension Lutheran Church in Tucson, Arizona. This project can be adapted for your individual congregation.

Goal: To celebrate church members 85 years of age and older.

The first step in the process is to receive approval from church leadership to host the event. Recruit a planning committee to oversee the festivities. Select a date or weekend and location to host the celebration. Allocate 4-6 months for the planning process.

Planning Activities

  • Enlist team members to host recorded personal interviews of seniors to compile in a book of memories or to share their stories in videos.
  • Collaborate with the worship team to plan a recognition of all seniors in a special worship service(s).
  • After worship, celebrate life with a birthday party. Consider including decorations and party favors, fellowship, and sharing of personal memories or video clips (either read out loud some of the memories or play videos, or if time permits, share by both means), food & refreshments (snacks and cake, appetizers, or a meal). An optional game could be to play a few rounds of Bingo or whatever game for seniors you feel appropriate. Small prizes are a nice touch.
  • Invitations: Compile a guest list of relatives to invite and utilize church communications for internal promotion.
  • Transportation: Recruit volunteers to chauffeur those in need of transportation to the events. Families will be a good transportation resource.
  • Potential funding sources: Church’s budget, project donations, or a special offering.

Comments from the Life Team Sponsoring This Project
While one group planned the party, a second group compiled personal interviews, hoping to publish a book of memories and biographies, with inspiring stories of the Great Depression and WWII.

During the meal, much laughter acknowledged former cheerleaders, football players and wrestlers, military members, ladies who learned to drive at age ten, and one lady who admitted to touching Liberace’s chest! Memories of the war effort, the Oklahoma dust bowl, and Lutheran Hour rallies with Ozzie Hoffman were shared.

Following the afternoon party, our congregation’s Saturday evening worship continued the theme of Bless the Years, as did Sunday’s service. Sunday’s coffee hour highlighted still another birthday cake and more festivities for our honored guests. We are so blessed to have 57 over 85 and more than 26 who are over 90!