cover image Aging: Growing Old in Church

Aging: Growing Old in Church

Will Willimon. Baker Academic, $21.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-5409-6081-8

Willimon (Accidental Preacher), bishop emeritus in the United Methodist Church and professor at Duke Divinity School, encourages aging Americans to “think like Christians about elderhood” in this bracing sermon of a book. The twilight years of one’s life is a time of inevitable diminishments but also of unprecedented opportunities to serve God and others in the last period of life, which lasts longer than it did two generations ago, he notes. Retirement is a whole new life, Willimon argues, one for which the church can and should help its people prepare, especially given that church congregations “are graying even faster than the general American population.” Willimon contends that, for many, old age will mean having to accept growing dependence—but being a burden is “part of the price we pay for loving and being loved,” he provocatively writes. Besides his thoughtful theology, Willimon offers practical suggestions for what Christian churches can do for aging people and their caregivers, and prompts the aging with ways they can serve. Older Christians, those who attend to the elderly, and congregations in general will find this to be a valuable pastoral resource. (Apr.)