Volume. XXI, No. 46
Sunday, 13 May 2007

From the Pastors Heart: Senior Citizens


Today we honor our mothers for their love, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice for their children. While in Australia this is Mothers’ Day, in some countries it is Parents’ Day. As we remember and honor our mothers today, I’d like to talk about the senior citizens in our midst. By senior citizens, I mainly refer to pensioners. They are above the age of 65 (men) or the age of 62.5 (women, as of July 1, 2000, and rising gradually to age 65 by July 1, 2013). For these pensioners, the government provides some social services such as care payment, rent assistance, pharmaceutical and telephone allowances, and a pensioner concession card. As of 11 May 2007 at 10:09:41 (Canberra time), the resident population of Australia is projected to be 20,821,110. For the last few years or so, the aging population has been a major topic discussed in the government, and its concerns have been reflected in the budgets. The aging of the population has long term implications for reduced economic growth, increasing demand for age pensions, and health and aged care services. How quickly this occurs depends on the dynamics of fertility, mortality and overseas migration. Interestingly, all of these governmental level concerns over the aging population are also the concerns that all our churches must pay attention to. As we have seen, many churches in Australia are aging churches with aged populations and no young people. At the same time, even some growing churches do not have enough service (ministry) for the seniors. One of the ministries that needs our attention is a ministry for senior citizens. According to ABS Population Projections, Australia, 2004 to 2101 (ABS cat. No. 3222.0), by 2050-51 in Australia life expectancy at birth is to reach 84.9 years for males and 88.0 years for females. If we take into account this increased life expectancy in Australia, our preparations for ministry for the senior citizens are not only for those senior citizens now already but also for us and our children.   
According to statistics, by 2025 the age group of 0-14 years old will be 16.5% and the group of over 65 years old 20.3% of the whole population. By 2050, the young group of 0-14 years old will have dropped to 15.1%, but the age group of over 65 years old will have increased to 25.7% (Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2006 [ABS cat. no. 3105.0.65.001]; Population Projections, Australia, 2004 to 2101 [ABS cat. no. 3222.0]; Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications: http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/jinsui/2.htm [accessed 1 February 2006]; National Institute for Population and Social Security Research 2002.). This data must alert us all. By the time our college-aged children become senior citizens, one out of four people will be a senior citizen. Senior citizens will outnumber Sunday school children in our churches. More aged people live alone today than before. In 2003, 21% of people aged 50-59 years were carers. Almost one quarter of these people were the primary carers of a person limited in daily activities such as walking, dressing, or communicating. It gives us a grim picture for future senior citizens. They will be fewer children in a busier society. There will be a large aged population to be looked after by the younger generation. Today, at least 5 percent of those aged 50-59 years look after someone almost fully and wholly, but in the future this percentage will inevitably go down. It is so obvious that loneliness will be a major factor that will affect the over-all wellbeing of the senior citizens’ health. The following is a statistical fact: “The average house size (in terms of number of bedrooms) occupied by 50–59 year olds increased from an average of 2.9 bedrooms in 1981 to 3.2 in 2001. Over the same period the average number of people living in these dwellings decreased from 3.0 to 2.7.” It means that fewer people live in bigger houses. We can see that loneliness will be more epidemic in the future than now. 
Having discussed these statistical data, I must admit that the care for the aged is not just for governmental policies or concerns. It has to be our concern, especially for those who are worshipping with us. The Session has been discussing about ways to minister to our senior citizens. At the same time, the Session recognized that the senior citizens also have the potential to make contributions to the wider church community. There are a couple of things we need to consider before I would make suggestions on behalf of the Session. First, we need to pray for the senior citizens regularly. We may be busy with our daily duties. However, we need to make it a habit to pray for them. Second, we need to volunteer for this ministry. We need various age groups who can assist the senior citizens by driving cars, fellowshipping, cooking, and ministering to them. The following are a few suggestions made during the Session meetings. You may give me your feedback in order that we may minister to them in better ways.
The first consideration is the age limit. Of course, there is no upper cap, but there may be minimum age. 55 years old is suggested. Second, a committee needs to be set up. We have able men in this group, and I trust that they can offer positive input into this ministry. The committee members may discuss about their activities, venues, and even budget. There are a few activities suggested such as prayer, Bible Study, hymn singing, meals, social outings, and video or book study. Third, it is necessary that this ministry have some fund for activities. We may have to make a budget for this fellowship group. Fourth, we probably need to make decisions about the frequency of this fellowship. Your feedback is important in this regard. I do welcome the senior citizens’ own opinions. Fifth, we do recognize that church premises are always available to this fellowship group. If individuals will open their homes for the fellowship, it will be much appreciated. Six, maybe once in a while, if different fellowship groups will combine their activities with the senior citizens, it may enrich the quality of our fellowship. 
On this Mothers’ Day, it is meaningful to all of us to think about our senior citizens. We are thankful for their presence with us. It is my hope and prayer that all of us do pray for them and think about ways to minister to them. If you have your own ideas and suggestions, please let me know, or you can speak to any one of the Session members about your thoughts. May the Lord bless our mothers, parents, and senior citizens today!
Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Congratulations & God’s Blessings to Elder Dr Lim & brethren of Evangel B-P Church (KL) on the 1st Anniversary Thanksgiving last Lord’s Day.

Wishing all mothers a Blessed Mothers’ Day.
Please pray for:
1. Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, & Winston Selvanayagam; Sisters Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Aranka Rejtoe, Chrisanthi Selvanayagam, Juanita Tong, Susan Veradi, & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction.
2. Rev Ed Paauwe - healing from back surgery
3. CambodiaMissions - Bro Samnang & Sis Shulamy.
4. Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam.
5. India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.
6. Kuching Missions- Teo family.
7. Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim.
8. Journey Mercies - Bro Peter & Sis Sonia Mitchell (Armenia); Bros Eduardo Morante & Joseph Selvanayagam; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson, Sis Jan & Bro Daniel Volvricht (Adl); Bro Jan Bennik (interstate), Sis Serene Wong (Adl); Rev & Mrs M.S. Choi (Adl); & all those travelling this week.
9. Jobs: Sisters Gillian Ong, Juanita Tong & Mag Yu.
Praise and Thank God for:
1. Journey mercies - Bro Raphael & Sis Bernadette Ng (Adl); Bro Makoto Kobayashi & Sis Serene Wong (JPN), Sis Sooi Chin Gong (Adl); & all those who have arrived safely at their destinations.
2. AFG Prayer & Share.
3. Ladies’ Fellowship Biblical Counselling Course.
4. YAF & Wed Prayer Meeting & Bible Study.
Shorter Catechism Question 96: What is the Lord’s supper? The Lord’s supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.
Memory Verse: “As they ministere
d to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” Acts 13:2



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