Oldest Seniors Honored on Senior Citizen’s Day

Written by: Phillip E. L. Castell, Director, Communication, Public Affairs & Religious Liberty | Friday, October 6, 2017

90 year old Mazie Burton  and 84 year old Ancile  Gloudon from the Andrews Memorial SDA Church were among scores of senior citizens who turned up for worship and thanksgiving at the East Jamaica Conference’s Senior Citizen’s Day held at the Andrews Memorial SDA Church on September 30, 2017.

Both were recognized for being the oldest female and male respectively in attendance at the church service planned in September on this date to coincide with the ending of Senior Citizen’s Week in Jamaica and the International Day of Older Persons. They were each given a gift basket containing fruits and other goodies during the Divine Service.

Dr. Carol Nathan, wife of Conference president Pastor Eric Nathan, made the presentation to Mazie Burton on behalf of the Conference. A similar basket was presented to Elder Ancile Gloudon by Pastor Eric Nathan.  

During the morning’s proceedings, senior citizens over the age of seventy were made to feel special when they were presented with a gift by a youth.  Special recognition was also given to all octogenarians by Pastor Carl Cunningham who invited them to come forward for the congregation to see them.

The congregation listened with delight as the fifteen seniors with ages eighty and above, proudly state their names and gave their age.

Speaker for the Divine Service Pastor Eric Nathan spoke to the church on the topic ‘The great Controversy and the Need for Intergenerational Solidarity and Transformation.’  He presented his message in the context of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan and stated that “indeed the devil has a desire to cause conflict between the different individuals that we will interface with as a nation, as a people and as a church.”

The man of God spoke of the ongoing conflict between the youth and the aged in our society and said that even today, there are some seniors who are uncomfortable with the presence of some young people and are offended by their world view and behavior.

He also cited that there are some young people who don’t like seniors as they believe they are miserable and irrelevant.

“This is not God’s original plan,” said Pastor Nathan almost with anger in his voice. “God’s original plan is that this generation must learn the lessons from the previous generation and as we work together for the Kingdom, then the Lord will bless us.”

The top pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in East Jamaica Conference spoke on the negatives of the generation gap said “as a church, we are going to do everything in our powers to mash down generation gap because this is not of God.”

“As a church we must seek to restore the respect of our seniors and of our country, We must seek to restore a greater attitude of gratitude among our people,” he added.

Pastor Nathan, who spoke with passion towards the end of his presentation, had words of encouragement and advise to the senior citizens when he told them that they should not yield to the temptation in their twilight years to sit down, do nothing then die, but that they should do all to hasten the coming of Christ..

“Seniors, don’t relax, we are not home yet, by the way things are, it won’t be long. Don’t stay home and put up your foot and die early. Volunteer to speed the gospel along so that we can finish the work and go home to live with Jesus.”

In bringing greetings to the seniors, Pastor Cunningham shared excepts of a research done on ‘Aging in the Caribbean’ which highlighted that by the year 2020, twenty five percent of the population will be senior citizens  sixty and over.

“Thank God for the increase we have had in medical care and for the consciousness that he has given us to take better care of our bodies and for the heritage we have as Seventh-day Adventists,” said Cunningham during his address to the seniors.

“Seventh-day Adventists are among the people that live the longest and enjoy the best quality of life,” he added.  Cunningham, who also serves as Assistant to the President in the areas of leadership and training went on to say that ‘senior citizens can have a lot to contribute if we are serious about building a more integrated and intergenerational community.”

 Ms. Natasha Nunez from the National Council for Senior Citizens brought greetings on behalf of that government organization and lauded the seniors for the part they have played in nation building. .

During the mornings worship, seniors from across the constituency participated in the day’s preceding with the reading of the scripture and providing special music in song.

The sitting choir for the day was the EJC Senior Choir which was directed by Sis. K. Murray of the Andrews Memorial SDA Church.   

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