Safe Sanctuaries – Older Adults
The Church Responds to Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Older Adults
Richard H. Gentzler Jr., Joy Thornburg Melton
• November 2012
Have you ever thought of older adults in your church as being vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, or neglect?
The statistics are sobering. According to the AARP Bulletin, each year 1 in 7 older Americans is victimized physically, emotionally, or financially. But many cases of elder abuse go unreported.
Elder abuse can happen to any older person—someone in your church, your neighbor, your loved one, even yourself—and anywhere. No church is immune from this reality.
Don't let your church be part of the problem. In this Safe Sanctuaries resource, Joy Thornburg Melton, an attorney and a former minister, offers valuable, practical advice to help churches reduce the possibilities for abuse and exploitation of elders.
Melton provides a wealth of knowledge and expertise in this excellent resource. She addresses such topics as:
- Types of abuse (neglect, physical, sexual, psychological/emotional, financial)
- Spiritual abuse and neglect (Dr. Richard Gentzler introduces these topics in the Foreword.)
- Indicators of elder abuse
- How churches are at risk
- How churches can safeguard against abuse and exploitation of older adults
- How congregations can care for the spiritual needs of nursing home residents, persons in assisted living facilities, or the homebound
- What individuals and churches can to do to prevent financial exploitation of older adults
- Best practices for beginning a ministry with and for older adults
- Basic procedures for safely operating ministries for older adults
- Planning how to respond to allegations of abuse
- Much more
Learn how your church can recognize and respond to issues of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of your oldest parishioners. Real care on the part of congregations includes knowledge, advocacy, and appropriate action.
The Rev. Dr. Richard H. Gentzler, Jr. (Rick) is the director of ENCORE Ministries, a ministry funded by the Golden Cross Foundation of the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. He is retired as a clergy member from the Susquehanna Annual Conference and is the former director of the Center on Aging and Older-Adult Ministries for the General Board of Discipleship (now called Discipleship Ministries) of The United Methodist Church.
Dr. Gentzler is an internationally recognized leader in the field of aging, midlife and older-adult ministries. In 2013, he was selected by Governor Haslam to serve on the Governor’s Task Force on Aging for the state of Tennessee. He was a keynote presenter for Conferences on Aging and Older Adult Ministries in Australia and New Zealand in 2013; a recipient of the “Outstanding Leadership in Older Adult Ministries Award” from the United Methodist Committee on Older Adult Ministries in 2012; a recipient of the “Spirituality and Aging Award” from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and National Interfaith Coalition on Aging (NICA) in 2003; and in 2002 served as a presenter on spirituality and aging at the United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid, Spain. In 2005 he produced the award-winning video on aging titled, New Beginnings: The Gifts of Aging.
Dr. Gentzler is a member of the board of directors for the Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee and serves as the board president. He is a resource consultant for both the Golden Cross Foundation of the Tennessee Conference and the Tennessee Conference Committee on Adult/Older-Adult Ministries.
Dr. Gentzler has been in ministry for more than forty-five years. He pastored churches in Pennsylvania and Maryland and taught classes at Lycoming College (Williamsport, PA), Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington, DC), Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, KY), Union Presbyterian Seminary (Richmond, VA), and Lipscomb University (Nashville, TN).
Dr. Gentzler is author and co-author of numerous books on aging, midlife and older adults including:
• Aging & Ministry in the 21st Century
• Aging: God’s Challenge to Church and Synagogue
• The Graying of the Church
• Designing an Older Adult Ministry
• Gen2Gen: Sharing Jesus with All Generations
• Forty-Sixty: A Guide for Midlife Adults Who Want to Make a Difference
Dr. Gentzler holds the following degrees: Bachelor of Science in Social Science/Secondary Education from Shippensburg University (Shippensburg, PA), Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington, DC), Doctor of Ministry from Boston University School of Theology (Boston, MA), and a Certificate in Aging Studies from Boston University Institute for Geriatric Social Work. He is married to the former Marilyn Ann Hozyash. They have two married children, Dr. Richard Henry III (Emily) and Elizabeth, Esq. (Jennifer) and two grandchildren, Katherine and Richard Henry IV.
Rev. Joy Thornburg Melton, J.D., is the chief resource officer of The United Methodist Property and Casualty Trust. She is the author of the “Safe Sanctuaries” series of books and resources published by Discipleship Resources. Rev. Melton is a recognized national leader in the area of development of ministry protection and abuse prevention policies. A graduate of Pfeiffer University, Scarritt College, and Emory University School of Law, she is uniquely qualified to understand both the legal and ecclesial issues involved with cases of abuse within the church.
Imprint: Discipleship Resources
Pub Date: November 2012
Trim Size: 8.375 in (w) x 10.875 in (h) x in (d)
Page Count: 136
BISAC Categories: RELIGION / Christian Living / Leadership & Mentoring