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Fall chautauquas help seniors get energized

LANCASTER, Pa. (BP)–Senior adults should be energized with the knowledge they have much to contribute to the life of their churches.

That’s the message Larry Mizell, who coordinates senior adult events for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, delivered to 386 seniors from nine states attending the senior adult chautauqua in Lancaster, Pa., Oct. 7-11.

LifeWay sponsored six different chautauquas, events combining education and entertainment, for senior adults at four locations this fall. About 2,600 seniors from 30 states attended the events.

“About 80 percent of the people who come to the fall chautauquas come with church groups,” Mizell said. “This is a great opportunity for them to return to their churches full of ideas for how they can continue to minister not only to other senior adults but to the whole church.”

Senior adult chautauqua events took place at the Willow Valley Resort in Lancaster, Pa., LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center in Ridgecrest, N.C., and at LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center in Glorieta, N.M., the week of Oct. 7-11. Three other events were held earlier at Ridgecrest, Glorieta and the Green Lake (Wis.) Conference Center.

The different locations attract different crowds. “At Willow Valley, we seem to attract more of the emerging seniors [ages 55-65],” Mizell said. “Ridgecrest and Glorieta tend to attract more of the seniors who are 65 and older. They have a tradition of going to Ridgecrest and Glorieta and still enjoy these locations,” both of which continue to undergo revitalization through new construction and remodeling.

For one family, choosing the Pennsylvania location was a matter of getting to have a family reunion. A brother, three sisters and a sister-in-law met at Willow Valley to spend the week together.

John and Louise Gentry from Brownsville, Texas, and members of Island Baptist Church on South Padre Island, have attended other chautauqua events over the years at Ridgecrest and Glorieta, but this year decided to come to Pennsylvania to meet three of his sisters. “We had decided to go to Ridgecrest this year, but when my sisters and I talked, we decided to come here since it is so close to Susan and Lois.”

Susan Maricle and Lois Macks both live in Maryland and attend White Marsh Baptist Church in Perry Hall. Their other sister, Janice Bopst, lives in Ormond Beach, Fla., and attends Ormond Beach Union Church.

“This is just a marvelous experience,” Bopst said. “It’s so much fun to get together with my family and to be around all these other people.”

For more information about the upcoming winter chautauqua events and for the dates and locations of next year’s fall events, go to www.lifeway.com or e-mail [email protected].
(BP) photos posted in the BP Library at http://bpnews.net. Photo titles: STARTING THE DAY and GATHERING TO SING.

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  • Polly House