The University of Lynchburg’s Beard Center on Aging is a co-sponsor of the 2020 Faithful Aging Conference: Aging Abundantly. The conference will take place on Tuesday, March 31, at the Bonsack United Methodist Church in Roanoke, Va.
Participants may register online at leadingagevirginia.org/events. Individual registration is $50 per person and $40 per person for adults ages 65 and older. Group registration for three or more people is $35 per person, but separate registration forms are required. All participants will receive a certificate of attendance at the end of the day for five contact hours. Limited scholarships are available. For more information, contact Martha Stokes at 804-474-8718 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leading Age Virginia and Pinnacle Living are both co-sponsors of the daylong event, which will feature a series of talks by local, state, and regional pastors and experts on aging. Persons of all faith traditions are invited to come learn, network, and share best ministry practices during this faith-based conference, which will highlight opportunities related to aging congregations, and meeting the needs of older adults.
The Rev. Richard Gentzler and the Rev. Brad Hales will present the opening and closing sessions, respectively.
Gentzler, who directs ENCORE Ministries, a ministry of the Golden Cross Foundation of the Tennessee Conference – United Methodist Church, will talk about “Reframing Aging: Positive Aging for Living Today” from 9:15 to 10:30 a.m. Hales, a pastor at Reformation Lutheran Church in Culpeper, Virginia, will address “Reviving the Aging Church” from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m.
Sessions in between include “Friendly Visits with the Homebound, Sick or Dying” presented by Denise Scruggs, who directs Lynchburg’s Beard Center on Aging, and Denise Smith, liaison for Community Health Education and Hospice at Gentle Shepherd Hospice in Roanoke.
A native of Delta, Ohio, Hales has also served parishes in Maryland and upstate New York. In his 24 years of ordained ministry, Hales has focused on renewing, redeveloping, and starting new churches for growth and greater involvement in their communities. Named the 2012 Culpeper Times Citizen of the Year, Hales also serves on the Culpeper Human Services Board and is the Dean of the Virginia Mission District of the North American Lutheran Church.
With a passion for God’s Word, outreach, and senior adult ministry, Hales helped to start The Place, a daily “drop-in” center for older adults in the Culpeper community. In 2009, Reformation Lutheran Church received the “Best Practices Award” in senior adult ministry by the National Council on Aging. Hales is a former columnist for the Culpeper Times.
In his “retirement,” the Rev. Dr. Richard H. Gentzler Jr. is not only director of ENCORE Ministries, but also serves as president of the board of directors for the Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee. A sought-after speaker, visionary, leader, and teacher, Gentzler is internationally recognized in the field. In 2013, he was selected by Tennessee Governor Haslam to serve on the Governor’s Task Force on Aging.
He has written many books and hundreds of articles on aging and ministry, and was a keynote presenter for the Fresh Horizon Conferences on Aging and Older Adult Ministries in Australia and New Zealand. His awards include the Outstanding Leadership in Older Adult Ministries Award from the United Methodist Committee on Older Adult Ministries, and the Spirituality and Aging Award from the National Council on Aging and the National Interfaith Coalition on Aging. He presented at the NGO Forum for the United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid, Spain.
Gentzler’s latest book, “An Age of Opportunity: Intentional Ministry By, With, and For Older Adults,” was published by Discipleship Resources in 2018.