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Our magazine: ‘plus’

Every three months, the Members of Christians on Ageing receive a free copy of the organisation’s magazine.  It is called plus and is a means of communication between the Executive Committee and members, between members themselves, and a source of information and reflection on issues of age and ageing.

Our members consistently say that one of the reasons for maintaining their membership of Christians on Ageing is plusfor the variety of its articles, its support in Christian living and the sign-posting it gives to further reading or information.

The Editor is always happy to receive suggestions for articles or even a finished article to be considered for publication in a future issue.  Contact the Editor by e-mail: info@ccoa.co.uk

 

Holidays at home

Prime Time

 A growing number of churches are running this type of event which provides fun and friendship and an opportunity to share the love of God.  The basic idea being that those who attend the Holiday at Home will feel like they are on holiday, though they will be back home in their own beds each night!  Like a Children’s Holiday Club, it is usually run over several days in the summer, a time which can sometimes be difficult for older people when families are away on holiday and some activities may have closed for a break.

At St. Johns, Harborne we have run “Prime Time”, our own version of a Holiday at Home, for the past 8 years.  It is always popular and usually over-subscribed.  We run it for 3 consecutive days and limit our numbers to 45 guests per day.  Some are active, others more frail, most attend for all 3 days, some just for 1 or 2 days.  Many of the guests are not from the church, but most are people who we have links with through the various retirement complexes in our parish or through our Over 70s Drop In.  Over 40 volunteers are involved – providing transport, cooking, making and serving drinks, assisting individuals who require extra support, leading sessions etc.

There is a choice of activities each morning and afternoon – musical entertainment, gentle exercise, speakers, discussion groups, games, craft, computer corner, DVDs,  etc. and plenty time to chat or relax on the comfortable armchairs borrowed specially for the event.  There is always much fun and laughter, as well as deepening friendships.  A quality cooked meal is provided each day as well as plenty of tea, coffee and home-made cakes and biscuits.  The first 2 days end with a 5 minute Thought for the Day, then on the final afternoon we have a short service of Thanksgiving.

Although by no means necessary, some years we have based the event around a theme – a cruise, the Good Old Days, in 2012 the Olympics, and a royal theme.  The cruise theme worked particularly well as we sailed away each day on the Prime Princess and enjoyed plenty of on-board entertainment including listening to a musician while sipping non-alcoholic cocktails!  All the guests were invited to dine at the Captain’s table on the last day, when many dressed for the occasion.  This provided some special memories and some lovely photos. We even had an amazing fruit display created by a volunteer.

The comments we have received from guests illustrate some of the key elements of this type of event:

I haven’t felt this valued since I retired”……….“When I come here it feels like someone is wrapping a warm blanket round me because of the love shown”……….“Such a tonic”………..”I had a fantastic day and enjoyed making a new friend”……………”Lasting memories”………..”I’d forgotten how to have fun”. 

A Holiday at Home can be run in various ways depending on the particular situation and resources available.  It is a wonderful way of valuing and serving older people and can have huge benefits to physical, mental and spiritual well-being.   It provides opportunity to build up relationships and help people to feel welcome in the church building. Many of our guests go on to attend some of the faith courses we run for older people.

Catriona Foster

(Pastor for Older People, St John’s Church, Harborne)

 

 

 

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