I’m going to buy one of those old fashioned football rattles that you can swing and make a loud noise of jubilation when you see a good score. I’m going to take it to talks I give and to conferences and events like New Wine. Because there is so much to celebrate right now!

Over the last two weeks at Shepton Mallet I’ve met so many church leaders who are passionate about valuing older people and whose churches are running a range of projects aimed at helping them that I’m wondering if this is the beginning of a sea change here in the UK.

With tear-filled eyes, a vicar said, ‘I can’t bear to hear about the way so many older people are being treated.’

Another said, ‘Older people are like treasure chests, full of experience and wisdom.’

If I’d had the rattle it would have been going full pelt for these two, and non-stop at other times. It looked that something like 350 people came to hear my talk, ‘How to Prepare for a Great Old Age’, and they were just as interested in helping people they knew as helping themselves. Yay!

Historically, the Christian church has been in the forefront of social change: education, welfare, health, and so on. That’s how The Aged Pilgrims’ Friend Society came to be set up in 1807. The story goes that a bunch of young Christians, inspired by a sermon by George Whitfield got together and the charity was formed, by prayer and faith.

The leader of a large church in the South described robust initiatives they are running, and more they are planning. They are involving local GPs and Social Services along with other organisations.

And it’s not coming from a ‘top-down’. helping the ‘poor old souls’, but from a genuine appreciation of the value of every soul to God, whatever their age.

Where can I buy a football rattle?

Louise Morse

Louise Morse MA (CBT) is media and external relations manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. She is a writer and speaker, and author of books on issues of old age, including dementia, published by Lion Monarch and SPCK. She is a cognitive behavioural therapist, and her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

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