Over the last several weeks I have been reading material on Aging as the demographics of our Chapel require us to minister to those who are older. We are part of an Aging Society. Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. has produced a report entitled RE-THINK AGING: Making Northeast Florida An Age-Friendly Region.
In 2015, a little more than one in five northeast Florida adults is a 55+ year-old. In just 25 years, by 2040, at least two in five will be 55+. Approximately 8,000 U.S. residents turn 65 years old every day. Older adults are working longer and delaying retirement.
Aging is a process and older adulthood is a time to embrace, plan for, and enjoy. Getting older is a normal part of human development. Currently, in 2015, Northeast Florida is home to an estimated 198,247 people who are 65 years of age and over and 183,522 people between the ages of 55-64. Added together, the population 55 years and over (381,769) makes up 35.2 percent of the adult population, or approximately 1 in 3 adults. In 2040, 25 years from now these age groups will make up 40.4 percent of the population age 18 years and over or at least 2 in 5 adults.
Our older age group is the fastest growing segment of our population. Churches need to plan for the pastoral care of this age group and seek to reach out to those who are unchurched and in need of the Gospel of Christ and the loving support of the Body of Christ. All too often churches concentrate on ministry to the young and treat older adults as though they were invisible. The secular culture glorifies youth and their consumer market. The last stage of human life should not be undervalued or neglected. It is a time when physical decline should be accompanied by spiritual enrichment. “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).
The Chapel provides life-long learning opportunities in its classes, accessible worship services, and caring staff and deacons. Visits are made to those in hospital and in rehabilitation facilities as well as at home. Lay Deacons also keep in touch with all members. Our Adventures in Prayer Group intercedes for all those who have requested prayer for healing and help. Call the Chapel Office (277-4414) if you have need of assistance or prayer. Leave a message if the office is closed. We are here for you.