West Grove cultivates the rich legacy of older adults

West Grove UMC is nestled in the rural countryside of Chester County in the southern-most tip of Pennsylvania.  Just a “stone’s throw” from Maryland and Delaware, the town has a population of 13,073.

Older adults at West Grove UMC are the history of the church.  They formed it to what it is today, from committees within the church to the outreaches in the town. Because of the older adults West Grove is known by the entire community for its famous Chicken Barbeques and rummage sales twice a year.

West Grove intentionally reaches out to the growing older adult community because they are God’s children and are not to be forgotten.  A good steward reaches out to all generations. Older Adults have a rich legacy of faith, wisdom and experience, which when cultivated, can be shared with the next generation.

The congregation’s efforts to reach out to the older adult community include designing a building that is all on one floor and offering large print bulletins at Sunday worship.

West Grove UMC has seven ministries under the Older Adult Ministry.  Retired Active People (RAP), meets once a month.  This is for men and women from the church and from the community who gather together and have lunch, followed by a speaker or an entertainer.   Visiting Ministry reaches out to not only the shut-ins, but the lonely or the grieving.   Grand-God Ministry is intergenerational connecting a person with a family whose child is going to be baptized.  They stay in contact with the family through cards and prayers.   Our Chaplain Assistant Program encourages older adults to visit residents at a local nursing home. Another ministry is a weekly community Bible study. ROMEO (Retired Older Men Eating Out) meets once a month for lunch.

Rev. Jim Mundell is appointed in his retirement to West Grove UMC, and serves as pastor of Jenner’s Pond, a Retirement complex, part of Simpson Senior Services.  Jim says, “I have the privilege of ministering to people of many faiths.  I have found out that no matter what a person’s faith they still need to have someone to aid them and comfort them in time of need.   My objective is to be that spiritual presence for all people at Jenner’s Pond in the name of Christ.”

Older Adults can share the history of our churches as well as the history of our families and our country.  Their valuable stories need to be heard and recognized.

Left: RAP’s organizing team plans luncheons and speakers for the full year’s program.

West Grove’s pastor, Wendy Hudson-Jacoby says, “At West Grove UMC, part of our mission is to equip our community members for God’s work in the world – and we mean members of all ages! Our vibrant Older Adult Ministry is an important part of the way we fulfill our congregation’s vision to Open Hearts to Jesus, Grow Faith, and Serve Others. Our older adults are both teachers and students in our community, and we are grateful for the way they serve, lead and learn.”

For more information, go to www.westgroveumc.org.

By Shirley Daddario

Shirley Daddario is associate pastor of West Grove UMC, and is responsible for Older Adult Ministry.

Featured photo: Retired-Active-People (RAP), offers older adults from West Grove an opportunity to gather once a month for lunch and a speaker as part of West Grove UMC’s ministry with older adults.