Committee calls for change in mandatory retirement age
4/7/2003 News media contact: Kathy Gilbert ∑ (615) 742-5470 ∑ Nashville, Tenn.
Tenn. (UMNS) - Calling forced retirement at age 70 "antiquated and
ageist," the United Methodist Committee on Older Adult Ministries
finalized proposed legislation that will relax the rules on mandatory
retirement for lay employees, pastors and bishops of the church.
March 25-27, the committee forwarded the resolutions to the churchwide
Board of Discipleship for submission to the 2004 General Conference. The
top assembly of the church meets every four years and will gather in
"God does not take away God's blessing, including
opportunity to serve in full capacity, simply because someone has
reached the age of 70 years or older," the resolutions state.
action involves amending or changing paragraphs 714.3; 356.1; 430.1 and
409.1 in the 2000 Book of Discipline, the church's law book.
committee is concerned about ageism in the church," said the Rev.
Richard Gentzler Jr., director of the Center on Aging and Older Adult
Ministries at the Board of Discipleship in Nashville.
"Chronological age should not be the determining factor for removing people from their positions," he said.
wisdom of age is often overlooked, said David Maldonado Jr., president
of Iliff School of Theology in Denver. He was invited to speak to the
committee about theological education as it relates to aging and
ministry with older adults in United Methodist-related seminaries.
theological education, the assumption is often that pastoral care
equals problems, having to take care of the aging. Aging is part of
God's creation; it is not a condemnation," he said.
members are concerned about training pastoral candidates to care for and
minister to older adults. The members discussed the idea of hosting a
symposium that would bring together seminary professors and those
working in older adult ministries to develop course work for seminaries.
In other action, the committee:
Proposed and forwarded to the United Methodist Board of Church and
Society a resolution titled, "Deficit Spending and the Elderly,"
protesting such spending to finance foreign conflicts.
¬∑ Voted to
contact all general board and agency heads to evaluate compliance with a
General Conference call to examine pension policies.
¬∑ Endorsed creation of a chair of gerontology at Africa University, a church-related school in Zimbabwe.
Discussed creating a general church award for each annual conference to
use in recognizing an individual or congregation doing extraordinary
ministry with older adults.
¬∑ Approved a June 30 deadline for
sending in applications for grants for older adult ministry programs.
The committee will review and award the grants at its Aug. 15-17
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