By Glenna Manning
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 31, 2017) -- After attending Boomerstock in Nashville last year, Joan De Tar, director of senior ministries at Concord United Methodist Church, started researching information about “Boomers” (those born between 1948-1966 i.e., ages 51-69). Baby Boomers are the second largest population in the United States, being passed by the Millennials within the last year (Pew Research, 2016), yet the largest population in most churches.
While gathering information from the Boomerstock event, Joan continued her research locally by seeking to call attention to all the different generations in Concord UMC. Outside her office door, she hung six large posters labeled with six different generations. People were then asked to sign their name under their generation.
Joan notes, “It was very interesting listening to people encourage each other to sign ‘The Wall of Generations.’ They started to talk about their growing up years, college years and more. They looked at the list of the ‘Greatest Generation’ (1901-1926) and realized we have very few left. We even have a few families at Concord that span four different generations. From just listening to people talk I realized they really wanted to talk about what they all have in common with each other and to learn about one another’s past.”
Like many churches, Concord has a large “Boomer” population and on Sunday, June 25, the Boomers of Concord were invited to celebrate Boomerstock. The church held a covered-dish dinner and everyone was also asked to bring a memory from the past to share. There were yearbooks, record albums, a draft card, slide rule, newspaper headlines, view masters, toys and much more. As folks gathered around the table, they shared their growing up experiences and had a chance to meet someone new with whom they shared a boomer history.
Boomers share significant historical events including the assassination of several national key leaders, witnessing the first man to walk on the moon, the Cuban Crisis and the Vietnam War. Many boomers remember riding “banana seat” bikes, wearing bell bottom and hip hugger pants, building fallout shelters, the coming of rock-n-roll, and hit TV shows such as Andy Griffith and Ed Sullivan. Many can sing to the music of the Beatles, Eagles, Jimmy Hendrix and Janice Joplin. Some even learned about and participated in civil protests.
Now, Baby Boomers are the most influential age group alive. They will determine new ways to care for the aged, effect the political budgets of the future and leave the foundation upon which the church will continue for future generations. They continue to balance time with their grandchildren while many still care for their aging parents.
The Boomer ministry at Concord goal is to develop ways for this generation to share the lessons and wisdom gained from the past, enjoy fully life in the present and to look hopefully to the future through a variety of gatherings and activities.
The next Boomer event at Concord will be held Sept. 22, a potluck with entertainment. Churches wishing to send representatives to learn more may contact Joan at (865) 966-6728.
Rev. Glenna Manning is pastor of discipleship and outreach at Concord UMC.
Boomerstock: Launching a ministry movement (Discipleship Ministries)