Those attending the special birthday celebration at the Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church included (front, from left) Margaret Fornataro, 92; Anna Mae Gearhart, 95; Ruth Guadiano, 97; (second row) Claudia Stahl, 95; Frank McConnell, 91; Dorothy Kalp, 93. Also recognized were Carl Anderson, 98; Erma Eckels, 97; and Charles Newill, 97.
TRIBLIVE NEWS PHOTO
Claudia Stahl, 94, and Dorothy Kalp, 93, don't let their age interfere with going to church every Sunday. After worship, the two friends head to the mountains for lunch.
In September 2012, Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church in Pennsylvania honored Stahl, Kalp and four other older-adult members in their 90s during a special worship service.
The congregation also arranged a luncheon for them and their families following the service. A slide presentation focused on them and the history of the church. "They were stunned and happy," said the Rev. Randy Landman.
"Many of them still drive cars and are active in the church," said Landman. He said half of the participants live on their own, and others reside in an assisted-living facility.
"Within the last 20 years or so, we noticed that many older adults are still very active," said Becky Cook, the Mount Pleasant member who spearheaded the September event. Cook, a clergy spouse, has been in ministry with her husband, who is now retired, for more than 36 years. She saw the need to reach out and recognize the aging community. "It's really important that we honor those who are older," she said.
"They are an inspiration to us. It gives us something to look forward to when we reach that age."
According to Cook, some of the older adults give rides to one another and visit friends in nursing homes.
Mount Pleasant has nine active members who are in their 90s. "We concentrate on the young ones and sometimes overlook what these folks have done all their lives," Cook said. "As a church, we want to minister to everyone. This was one way to honor the older adults."
AT A GLANCE
Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church | 645 W. Main St., Mount Pleasant, PA 15666 | 724-547-2228 | [email protected] | umcofmtpleasant.org | Rev. Randy Landman | Average Attendance: 103 | Western Pennsylvania Conference