Many congregations in the Church of England consist predominantly of people aged over 55 and we seek to recognise the wide range of abilities and potential to be found among our older members and appreciate their positive contribution as well as their needs as they become frail and less able towards the end of life.
We are very grateful to the hundreds of older people who give so much to our churches in a whole range of voluntary roles and add depth and wisdom to our life together as the Body of Christ.
Many parishes have developed services for older people including luncheon clubs, day care and social events.
The Leveson Centre
Within the Birmingham Diocese is a unique centre for the study of ageing, spirituality and social policy that has raised the profile of these issues and offers a vast range of resources for older people and those who care for them. The Leveson Centre for the Study of Ageing, Spirituality and Social Policy is part of The Foundation of Lady Katherine Leveson at Temple Balsall and was set up by Revd Dr James Woodward.
It arose from the conviction that the contribution of older people to society is often devalued and that the church shares in this. The Centre brings together for study, reflection and the exchange of ideas and information those of all faiths - and none - who want to develop an understanding of spirituality as lived by older people and the contribution of the church to social policy on ageing. James Woodward can also provide suggestions for training for individual churches who wish to develop their work with older people.
Many older people and their relatives find that living in their own home in the community is no longer possible through increasing frailty or loneliness. The Foundation of Lady Katherine Leveson also provides care and support for 48 older people either through supported (sheltered) housing or in residential accommodation. The Foundation aims to provide a secure and caring environment which meet the demands of each resident. Personal care is offered that encourages choice, respects dignity and fosters feelings of self worth. Click here for further details.
The Centre organises seminars, produces newsletters and Leveson Papers and has an excellent website which includes a full publications list with opportunities for ordering on-line. It also has a very comprehensive resources section which includes a news update which provides a chronological account of current developments in social policy in relation to ageing and links to other organisations working in the field.
On the website is also a 'Policy for Older People', drawn up by the Hereford Diocesan Council for Social Policy's AGE group in conjunction with the Leveson centre. This ground breaking initiative sets a pattern for other churches to follow and can be adapted for use in individual churches.
See also the resources section of this website.