Window. From the window we see a Community Center in which older persons can find a sense of belonging, purpose and interaction with other people their own age. A Nursing Home is close at hand to provide healthcare, ideally right in the neighborhood, to allow family and friends to participate. Still many elderly are among the poorest of the poor, living in shanties or homeless altogether, with nowhere to go. Outside the Children's Center, children and an elder sit side-by-side on a bench. The elderly do not have to be disconncected from the community. Indeed, they may have more time available for the young to pass on information and share values.
Furniture/Games/Plaque. Small children's playthings in the elderly room are for the childcare many elderly family members provide. With the increase in single-parent households or households with two working parents, the extended family is even more important in the city. The two full-size chairs express the need for intimate adult companionship. To the elderly, physical presence and interaction are very important in order to avoid feeling isolated. A plaque on the wall cites service to youth. The experience and maturity of older people have much to offer in urban ministries.
Bookshelf. On the bookshelf in the senior's room are several service awards and a wide selection of books which span both time and culture. Books are very much a part of life in the senior's room. They grew up without TV, and were acquainted with the greatness of their heroes through reading and in living the real experiences of history. The Bible on the bookshelf is open to Psalms. This is their hymnbook and the songs are still a source of comfort. The Psalms remind them of the successes of the past and are full of pleasant memories. The items in this room show that the elderly are to be honored, but that the key to a successful urban ministy is connecting the generations. We have found that the elderly are better able to impart their wisdom and knowledge because the younger genrations will be more likely to accept input from them than from their own parents. The award depict twenty-five years of faithful Sunday School teaching show that the elderly are a resource, not a burden.
Hanging Photos. If churches are to survive, they must live on through future generations. This is the theme behind the set of photos on the wall. The first photo, from the early part of the century, shows a church as a simple wood-frame structure. In the second, forty-five years later, there have been a number of additions. Finally, in the most recent photo, we see the church as it is today. The point is that churches die unless they pass on their vision to future generations. The church in the photos has been there for three generations, providing stability and a frame of reference. In these scenes, we see continuity and change side-by-side. Without these older churches, we would not have urban ministry as we know it. People of different enthic backgrounds surround us.
Mirror. The mirror in the senior's room reflects the wisdom, experienc and patience inherent in their historical perspective. The elderly person in the mirror is pictured with younger people to to whom he or she will "pass the torch." The unique needs of the elderly are also shown by including a hospice with its Meals on Wheeles program and ministries to the handicapped and the homeless.
Skylight. As they approach the end of life, seniors look back on their early days as God has led them, trusting Him for the final journey..