Older adults in the South Georgia Conference have an exciting opportunity for spiritual renewal, worship and fellowship at the 2013 Saints Alive Conference, formerly the Older Adult Retreat.
Set for April 15 through April 17 at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island, the annual retreat has been a gathering place of older adults for many years. Worship and spiritual growth are the main focus of this retreat, and participants are able to totally immerse themselves in the atmosphere and become spiritually renewed.
With a theme of “Repurpose: Embrace the Adventure” the retreat will offer senior adults an opportunity to discover, develop, and fulfill their God-given purpose.
“This retreat gives people a break from everyday life to be renewed spiritually, physically, and mentally, and become more knowledgeable about scriptures,” said Ann Davis, a member of the South Georgia Conference’s Older Adult Council. “We’ll be able to associate with great people who have the same ideas, issues, joys and blessings, and share with one another.”
The retreat is not just designed for older adults, however. It is open to anyone who works with older adults, is interested in older adult ministries, is an older adult or plans on becoming an older adult. Included in the retreat are workshops designed for people who work with older adult ministries in the local church.
“The theme this year helps us to recognize that we can and should be in ministry at any age and phase of our life,” said Allison Lindsey, associate director of Connectional Ministries. “Our ministry may change as to how we can serve or what we are able to do, but we are all called to be in ministry and we can all do something!”
Highlights of the retreat include preacher Rev. Robert Beckum, Bible study leader Dr. Charles Houston, song leaders Frank Lowery and Carl Tott, and special entertainment by Tim and Annie Akins.
Retreat preacher Rev. Robert Beckum is the Senior Pastor of St. Luke United Methodist in Columbus, appointed there in June 2011. Prior to being appointed to St. Luke, Rev. Beckum was the vice president of Church Relations and Development for Magnolia Manor in Americus, Ga. for seven years.
Bible study leader Dr. Charles Houston is a retired United Methodist pastor who served 40 years as an ordained minister. In 2009, Dr. Houston retired from the ministry to form Caring Connection Chaplaincy, which serves and ministers to departments of public safety, their families, and the people they encounter and serve while in the line of duty.
Song leaders Frank Lowery and Carl Tott have been singing and playing together for many years, and their love and music and their love of the Lord comes shining through. Both attend Americus First United Methodist Church, where they sing in the choir.
Tim and Annie Akins are a husband and wife duo whose music joins their love of Jesus with their love of rock, gospel, jazz, blues, and big band music. Their music unites listeners from both sides of the contemporary/traditional musical fence and blurs the lines between generations, denominations, and races.
Time for fellowship and fun is scheduled into the three-day conference. Tim and Annie Akins will perform at 8 p.m. on Tuesday and a Cokesbury hymn sing-a-long is set for Monday evening. Scheduled activities also include a book review of Kevin Idleman's book, “Not a Fan,” with Helen Berenthein and a healthy living segment with “The Medicine Man,” Dr. Charlie Rouse of Albany.
“This retreat draws people from throughout our Conference and surrounding Conferences who come each year to enjoy Epworth By The Sea and the fellowship and learning that come through this event,” Lindsey said. “The planning team really takes a holistic approach in the programming to be relevant in many ways for our Older Adult ministry.”
This year’s mission opportunity will be collecting small stuffed animals or Beanie Babies. They will be donated to hospitals and Emergency Management Technicians (EMTs) across South Georgia to offer children comfort and security in the midst of traumatic situations.