Many people quit going to church as adults. Having children and full-time, challenging jobs can certainly make it difficult to get up early on weekends and attend to one’s spiritual needs.
But, as we grow older, many people rediscover their faith. Doing so comes with many blessings. Church not only nourishes the spirit, it gives you social support, no-cost services, and a framework for mindfulness. Here’s a guide to nurturing your heart and soul through church, presented by Pleasant Grove Methodist Church.
Many seniors find that their social circle has narrowed. The death of a spouse and other family and friends makes that circle smaller. Meanwhile, children move out of the house and are busy with families of their own.
Where do you go to restore your social network? Gyms may be unappealing, especially if the clientele is generally younger. Church, on the other hand, is a good place to connect with folk of all ages. And you may already know some of the people there — especially if you find a church in your neighborhood or go with a friend. Of course, if you get a group of like-minded churchgoers together who want to improve their physical health, getting together and utilizing a program like SilverSneakers (which is offered through certain Medicare Advantage programs) can be a good way to socialize and get in a little exercise at the same time.
Additionally, many churches offer Sunday School programs and Bible studies that meet in small groups. These small groups offer a way to network with other people and make friends and associates.
Having a strong social network is one of the keys to good health. When we engage with other people, we feel a sense of purpose. When our lives are rich in purpose and other people, we have good reasons not to get depressed or resort to drinking or drugging.
Services extend beyond worship
Churches are strong in providing support to their members. For instance, if you need help getting to church, most churches will assign someone to give you a ride.
Church ministers and priests also offer informal counseling services. For people of faith, these conversations can be as comforting and potentially more useful than secular counseling. Your minister, for instance, may identify passages of the Bible that help you understand what you are going through and how to deal with it.
Churches also provide a wealth of entertainment. Many churches hold picnics, field trips, concerts, films, and sports activities for every age group. You can do everything from watch a movie to pick up a game of volleyball at your local church.
After Sunday morning services, coffee is served in most churches, and this is a great time to meet other people with whom you have at least one thing in common: your shared belief system. Some churches even have single groups of all ages that allow you to network with other people of your faith and possibly find romance.
You’ve probably been hearing about mindfulness. Mindfulness is the art of living fully in the moment, letting go of past pain and anxieties about the future. Many healing regimes include mindfulness therapy.
The goals of mindfulness are in sync with the goals of most religions. Religion teaches us to be grateful for what we have, as does mindfulness. Religion teaches us not to nurse grudges, as does mindfulness.
It can be difficult to make ourselves focus on the here and now, especially if we’re going through a transition as life-changing as addiction recovery. But taking even a few minutes a day to be mindful of all we have in the present moment - and especially all we have to be grateful for - can help us feel more at peace with ourselves, our surroundings, and our circumstances.
In conclusion, church is a great blessing to many seniors. Growing old may come with wisdom, but it can also come with decreased mobility and decreased energy. Having a strong support group, such as is offered in church, can go a long way toward helping us deal with the trials and temptations of old age.
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