Aging is the only way to live. But what are we doing about it in our Diocese?
Aging is the only way to live. But what are we doing about it in the Diocese of Southern Virginia? About 35 years ago our Diocesan, Bishop George P. Gunn, decided something had to be done, particularly about the housing needs of older Virginians in our midst. First he organized a committee, chaired by the Rev. Sydney Swann, then Rector of Church of the Good Shepherd, Norfolk, to survey our housing situation. From that study was to come the Westminster Canterbury Life Care Retirement Home at Virginia Beach.
In the early 1980’s that housing committee grew into a Diocesan Commission on Aging as a standing commission to respond to other needs of Southern Virginia’s aging – and soon to be booming – population. Among the early chairs of the commission were Connie Laws, Meg Duffey and Bill Egelhoff
The Commission worked closely with the national Episcopal Society for Ministry, bringing to Southern Virginia some of the country’s leading gerontologists for diocesan conferences on aging issues. These conferences reached out not only to seniors, but also to adult children with aging parents. Later the Commissions organized seminars for clergy in an effort to help themserve as better informed referrals in the area of aging problems. These seminars brought in aging experts from local Area Agencies on Aging, sharing the services offered to enable seniors to remain in their community, thus avoiding institutionalization.
As members of the Tri-Diocesan Commission on Aging in Virginia the Commission promotes a three-day Fall Camp each October at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs. Held at the height of Virginia’s fall foliage, these conferences draw seniors together from all comers of the Commonwealth.
In an effort to strengthen and expand its reach, the Commission on Aging has been brought under the aegis of Christian Formation. This move recognizes the growing needs of Southern Virginia’s seniors and helping all of them to enjoy a healthier and happier quality of life.
The Commission always welcomes laity or clergy interested in spreading the good news of aging in southern Virginia. For more information contact either co-chair, Bob Lovegren at (757)229-1794 or email@example.com or Betsy Elliott at (757) 229-6521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
And remember, Aging is the Only Way to Live!
Commission on Aging member roster
Virginia Department of Aging
The Commission on Aging offers the above link to the Virginia Department for the Aging (VDA). VDA works with 25 local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) as well as various other public and private organizations to help older Virginians, their families and loved ones find the services and information they need.
"Aging is Changing" - a congregational resource
A five -part program designed to be incorporated into the life of congregations. Prepared by the Episcopal Church Office for Lifelong Christian Formation and the Executive Council Taskforce on Older Adult Ministries, “Aging is Changing” was developed to help clergy and lay leaders identify issues of older adults, their families, and caregivers, and to identify existing local, state and national resources that might be helpful. It also includes best practices from 60 congregations around the Episcopal Church.
Aging is Changing
Resources for Congregations
Faith Formation - Spirituality of Aging
Congregational Best Practices