National Older Adult Conference of the Church of the Brethren is not for kids; not even for teenagers or young adults! Only the over 55 crowd are invited to attend.
Every two years, for about four days, this "aged assembly" meets in Stuart Auditorium at the Lake Junaluska conference center in North Carolina. Chief Junaluska himself greets us at every arrival and departure.
This year, September 2 to 6, about 800 "seasoned citizens," gathered for worship. Many were over eighty years of age and the eldest present was ninety-five.
"Healing Springs Forth," from the biblical book of Isaiah, chapter 58, was the theme which guided our time together.
We sang a lot, under inspired music leadership,
and enjoyed the music of an excellent choir. We ate a lot of ice cream (the non-drinking Brethren equivalent of booze).
We learned a lot in daily Bible studies on the theme.
We listened -- and "Amen"d -- a lot to the messages of several inspiring preachers and lecturers.
We laughed a lot at other speakers on topics such as "Hillbilly is Not Politically Correct."
Some of us also shed tears during a drama dealing openly with mental illness and suicide.
Applause was loud, long, and well-deserved at the keyboard concert given by a young couple of talented musicians from Pennsylvania.
In four short days, many of us felt we had blossomed from "old age" into engagement with life again!