As I was heading for my car after service, I noticed one of our members in her nineties gazing at the church cemetery as she waited for her ride. “I imagine there are a lot of memories for you there,” I observed.
“My family are very good to me,” she said. “But those are the people who knew me best and now I’m the only one left.”
Loneliness is a growing social concern among us. While not limited to the elderly, they tend to be in situations that make them particularly vulnerable to loneliness. One study reports that seniors 80 years and older report feeling lonely 80 per cent of the time.
Our feature article outlines the extent of the problem. It also reminds us that congregations can provide valuable resources that help people overcome loneliness. Even the smallest congregation is a place where people connect with each other and members have opportunities to reach out to others around them.
Some of those opportunities are easily missed unless we spend some time thinking about what might be done. One summer in a congregation I served, a retired member observed that not everyone goes away for the summer. Congregations tend to shut down for the summer and most of the activities that she enjoys at church shut down too.
We decided to simply put on the coffee on Wednesday mornings and invite people to join us for a cup. We were amazed at how many turned up. We had to set up more tables and chairs and it became part of many people’s summer routine.
Rev. Tim Wray begins a new Bible study series we’ve named Why we say…(p. 31). It explores the biblical origins of many familiar sayings and helps readers think about them more deeply.
If you’ve been trying to find ways to worship that feel right for your congregation, you’ll find some helpful advice about developing our liturgies that you might want to try for yourself (Practising Our Faith, p. 9).
In Q & A, you may discover some ideas about the purpose of the wisdom books of the Bible that you never realized (p. 15).
Don’t forget to check out our synod sections. They reflect a church that continues to be In Mission for Others. We welcome Lorelei Betke as the new synod editor for Alberta and the Territories and thank the retiring synod editor Wendy Christensen-Grosfield.
Kenn Ward, Editor