Supporting Adventist Baby Boomers
The Adventist Baby Boomer generation is starting to retire, and the gigantic size of it, plus the well-documented longevity connected with the Seventh-day Adventist lifestyle, will create an exciting opportunity for service, mentorship, and recreational activities for persons in this group and those dedicated to their support.
In much the same way that the preceding decades created a culture of youth immersed in prolonged education, delayed marriages, and numerous lifestyle options, the new and improved 50-, 60-, and 70-something group are creating a new breed of retirees who are foregoing the rocking chair and comfy quilts for hiking, running, volunteering, building stuff, and returning to the workforce.
Those of us who are both working in support of the Seventh-day Adventist employees and approaching the golden age ourselves (who isn’t?), perceive a need for enriching the experience of those joining the retirement ranks, and those who are starting to prepare for the transition. And, preparation is of the essence — financial, psychological, logistical, and spiritual.
A time.com/money survey of March 2016 showed that as many as a third of all Americans don’t have any retirement savings. This is probably one of the reasons why a USA Today report of an AARP study says that “the number of workers who are 75 and older has skyrocketed by 76.7 percent in the past two decades.”
But, money is only part of the equation. A safe landing into the retirement zone requires many incremental changes in perception. Many in the service professions such as clergy, teaching, and healthcare tie their sense of self-worth to their careers. The gold watch only serves to remind them of their past contribution to the lives of their patients, parishioners, or students, and the potential loss of relevance. Other realities that will hit retirees with greater or lesser force are extra time, much more time with the spouse (generally a good thing), the loss of social contact at work, and reduced income.
Still, for most Adventist retirees and those in the preretirement phase, the idea of embarking on a looser version of service, with time to smell the roses and enjoy the grandchildren, is something they are greatly anticipating. For these folks, retirement can truly be a golden phase full of contentment and meaning.
As the largest Union in the North-American Division (NAD) of Seventh-day Adventists, and as the recipient of many Adventist retirees transplanting to warmer climates, the Southern Union is hosting an unprecedented event to support the retirement planning of Church employees, and to recognize and affirm the continued contribution of those already retired from formal service. The three-day event is being called the 55+ Onward and Forward church and Adventist hospital employee convention. It will take place at Southern Adventist University, June 22-24, 2017.
The 55+ designation is more than a marketing gimmick; the seminars being offered will support active lifestyle choices and hobbies, some adult education seminars, and plenty of spiritual nourishment. The speakers include Dan Jackson, NAD president; Ed Reid, author; Ron Smith, D.Min., Ph.D., president of the Southern Union; Jud Lake, Th.D., D.Min., professor at Southern Adventist University; Harold Cunningham, Georgia-Cumberland Conference ministerial director and gardener extraordinaire; and Ray Jimenez III, newly appointed director of Adventist retirement at the NAD.
To register for this event, go online to www.southernunion.com/55convention and follow the link for the Onward and Forward Convention; or, call 770-408-1800, extension 111.
serves as the executive secretary of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference.
Southern Union executive secretary, is coordinating the event with the support of the conferences’ counterparts.
Southern Union | March 2017