Lutheran Older Adult Retreat
A great opportunity for seniors on the eastern side of Missouri are the Lutheran Older Adult Retreats (LOAR). These retreats are held every 18 months or so and are a joint effort from the Missouri District and the Southern Illinois District. The most recent retreat was held October 20-21, 2021. The retreats usually utilize the Pere Marquette Lodge in Grafton, Illinois. Though originally postponed from fall of 2020, it was an exciting event with over 100 in attendance and much joyous fellowship.
The event featured keynote speaker Rev. Kenneth Holdorf and Rev. Dr. Jeff Gibbs led Thursday’s Bible Study focusing on John 12:21b “It Doesn’t Look Like Glory to Me: Seeing Jesus as He Wants to Be Seen.” Other retreat topics included What Scammers Don’t Want You to Know, Faith Stories: Leave a Legacy That Matters, Protect Yourself in a Digital World...Even if You Think You Don’t Live There, Do We Really Hate Each Other That Much?, Faces of the Reformation: Twenty Three Portraits of the 16th Century Reformation, Seeing Jesus Through Words: Creative Writing Workshop, and more. Attendees were invited to stay at the Pere Marquette Lodge or commute each day. There are also fun activities and evening entertainment planned.
Rev. Richard LaBore serves on the committee for these retreats. He notes that senior ministry is one of a host of other “numerous ministries that we consider important: children’s, youth, collegiate, singles, married, couples, deaf, blind, widow/widower, confined, nursing homes, rural, urban, etc., as well as the seniors cluster.”
He notes that the need for having a senior ministry is a natural one for congregations as, “[seniors are] all around us in increasing numbers.” There are a variety of ways for churches and organizations to provide support for senior citizens in their communities. Some great ideas include “reading sessions in homes and schools; free “taxi” services to appointments, shopping, and church events; minor home repair crews, nursing home ice cream vendors, tax return prep, and the list keeps growing.” LaBore notes that one of the main ideas with senior ministry is don’t just “‘let the younger folks’ do [things].” Most seniors wish to be engaged and still serve.