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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 20, 2020 11:41AM

A UMC church in Cottage Grove, Minnesota has made it clear that its older members (generally age 60+) are unwelcome. They have been invited to leave, although their financial donations and volunteer labor (i.e shoveling snow from walkways) are still welcome. The church wants to attract younger families and will be preparing for a "reset." After 15-18 months, the older members can apply to the pastor to return.

Naturally, those older members are furious.

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/lifestyle/faith/4871798-Best-path-to-a-younger-flock-Church-asks-older-members-to-worship-elsewhere

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: January 20, 2020 12:00PM

"You're dead to me!" said the Pastor. "But grab a donation envelope on your way out..."

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Posted by: Okay, Boomer! ( )
Date: January 20, 2020 12:18PM

A couple of generations ago (literally!), Saturday Review had an article on the American Episcopal Church titled, "Trendier Than Thou."

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: January 20, 2020 12:43PM

Can't get as much money from older members.

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Posted by: sbg ( )
Date: January 20, 2020 01:10PM

This is from the St Paul paper. Some of the comments are pretty good

https://www.twincities.com/2020/01/18/cottage-grove-church-united-methodist-young-parishioners/

I would as someone over 60 tell them if I can't come to the main event I am no way going to give them money or mow their lawn.

However, being the Methodist church in the US is about to split in two over inclusion and Gay Marriage, this is yet another symptom of a much deeper problem.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 20, 2020 01:19PM

> this is yet another symptom of a much
> deeper problem.

Truer words. . .

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: January 21, 2020 05:48PM

So I wonder...are they signaling that they plan on being a pro-LGBT group after a split and that the older folks probably need to find less progressive groups that will be anti-LGBT?

Maybe it's apparent the older ones wouldn't fit in after a split and they are positioning?

I don't get the money angle though.

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Posted by: ptbarnum ( )
Date: January 20, 2020 03:18PM

Wow. Imagine devoting so much to your local worship community only to have them turn around and tell you you're no longer a part of Jesus's target demographic.

They've been taking a page out of Mo'ism's playbook regarding elderly disposability, looks like.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: January 22, 2020 01:12PM

ptbarnum Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> They've been taking a page out of Mo'ism's
> playbook regarding elderly disposability, looks
> like.

They upped the shunning anti.

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Posted by: Topper ( )
Date: January 20, 2020 03:41PM

This is an example of how much of American society treats older people. Never mind that we are the ones doing most of the volunteer work.

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: January 20, 2020 03:41PM

Now would be a good time for the elders/sister missionaries to swoop in. They could convince these older members about the poor LDS Corp's need for tithing to build more temples.

The church always need a larger janitorial workforce.

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Posted by: dumbmormons ( )
Date: January 21, 2020 08:47AM

Much like a friend who made contact with a major "sports talk" radio station awhile back.

He got ahold of them about their programming and its pushing loud and obnoxious hosts and lack of depth.

"Our demographic requires it" and "our advertisers love it" was the response.

His - "I can walk into a Mercedes dealership and pay cash for a new car - or into a John Deere dealership and pay cash for a new combine - $160,000 for the first and $485,000 for the second - yet you cater to idiots who have to finance a $12,000 used car".

A lot of "olders" are doing just fine and the churches and so many other outfits who pass them by lose leadership and experience and a ton of donations.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 21, 2020 05:20PM

I hear you. As a 60-something, I'm at a loss as to why advertisers chase a younger demographic. I am at my peak earning power.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 21, 2020 05:33PM

Ah yes, you are. But you (or at least your cohort) is in a low-spending age group.

The Lifetime Savings Hypothesis is an observation that works across countries. What happens is that people in their 20s and 30s spend a ton, particularly if they marry and have children. That elevated spending persists through the 40s and into the early 50s as parents pay for their children's educations. Thereafter people earn the most and spend much less, resulting in a big increase in savings and net worth in preparation for retirement.

Advertisers do what is wise. They focus on high-spenders, which is where the consumption is, and de-emphasize age groups that are more frugal.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 21, 2020 05:38PM

I get the logic, but I can't say that I agree. The young people that I see in their 30s are not spending much. They are weighed down by student loans, high housing costs, high health care costs, and often meager paychecks.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 21, 2020 05:45PM

That is exactly how it is.

Net savings is negative for people in their 20s and 30s, then goes neutral and finally turns positive in your age category. The reasons you cite for why young people have no money--student loans, high housing costs, high health care costs--are spending. Advertisers want to get a greater share of that spending. They will not be able persuade you to spend anything like a someone in her 20s.

https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-4/images/age-spending-chart-1.png

Advertisers want to hook people in their 20s so that they get a bigger share over the next couple of decades. That makes a lot more sense than investing in people whose spending is in steady decline.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 21, 2020 05:49PM

Back on topic.

This logic does not apply to the UMC and other established religions. The problem they face is that they are selling a product that young people don't want. If a company manufactures bifocals, insulin, and/or adult diapers, telling older consumers to go away and trying to sell those goods to young people is a really stupid idea.

Businesses need to know their product before they decide on a marketing strategy. The UMC (and the LDS) don't realize that they are selling the wrong product for their target market.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 21, 2020 06:02PM

So according to that chart, the highest spending is for ages 45 to 54, which is still outside the target demographic for advertisers. And that is 2013. My guess is that the numbers are now shifting northward.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 21, 2020 06:15PM

I would normally try to get a more current chart but in this case didn't feel it necessary because these patterns are extremely resilient over time. The data for today would show a similar spending pattern but probably greater income and savings due to the stock market. That surplus won't be spent until the saver passes away and her children or grandchildren inherit it.

Advertisers perform a present-value calculation on prospective customers. They want someone who is at the start of the high-spending period, meaning someone in their 20s or even late teens. That person will spend a lot more over the next thirty years than someone in her 50s or 60s, so the key is using advertising to get the younger people hooked on your Coca-Cola or your Toyota or whatever well before they reach middle age.

The calculus is compelling. Companies spend a ton of money, and employ armies of statisticians, psychologists, and market researchers to understand these dynamics.

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Posted by: Fascinated in the Midwest ( )
Date: January 21, 2020 04:38PM

After 15-18 months, they can "reapply to return?"

Good luck with that! They will find another pew in which to sit - or take up bird-watching, Sunday fun runs, lazing by the lake, baking, sleeping in late, model rocketry, the NY Times crossword puzzle, etc.

I predict the majority of them will never be back. To any house of worship.

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Posted by: caffiend ( )
Date: January 22, 2020 12:05AM

They'll go look for a conservative church, one without drums, gender-neutered Bibles in the pews, coffee shops and woke sermons. And they'll volunteer, donate, maybe even tithe.

The hip pastor (or elders) is making a mistake very common among liberal denominations: diluting, even discarding, the Gospel for "relevant" social and political trendiness. People--Millennials especially--can see right through this marketing gambit.

Besides, as LW has pointed out, they're marketing their product to a financially strapped demographic. The malaise infecting the UMC runs much deeper than disagreement over alphabet sexualities.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 22, 2020 05:26AM

I think that it's a mistake to automatically assume that this necessarily has anything to do with the divisions in the UMC over LGBTQ issues. It might, but there is no evidence of that. It doesn't follow that someone who is ~60+ automatically leans conservative. And this is Minnesota that we are talking about. Cottage Grove is only ten miles south of St. Paul. The twin cities metro area is very progressive overall.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 21, 2020 05:19PM

Update: I found this story sufficiently disturbing that I contacted a Washington Post religion reporter about it. She responded that a reporter has been assigned and that a story will be forthcoming.

From there, assuming that the facts are as presented, my hope is that the story will "go wide" to the wire services and beyond.

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Posted by: Warrior71783 ( )
Date: January 21, 2020 05:27PM

Of course they still want the money. Bastards(cussing)

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Posted by: sbg ( )
Date: January 21, 2020 11:17PM

Just made the 10PM news in the Twin Cities.

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Posted by: subeamnotlogedin ( )
Date: January 22, 2020 07:47AM

Haha they average 25 people

"Recently, the church’s attendance and finances have stabilized, with an average of 25 people worshiping weekly."

I grew up in a small branch and we had more people than that. By reducing the 60 plus age group how many of the 25 would be left? 10 maybe? How fun is that for a young family?

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Posted by: caffiend ( )
Date: January 22, 2020 03:57PM

Which must make them especially minuscule on Sunday mornings.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: January 22, 2020 12:56PM

I'd be with the First 'oldies' refusing to leave, just to see what they'd do; Call the cops? rough people up, be rude to them, refuse to let them use that bathrooms?

(If there 'services' are held in a home, that's different.)

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: January 22, 2020 03:51PM

Is that age discrimination? Or are churches exempt from that too?

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: January 22, 2020 04:41PM

I'm thinking of starting a religion where I as their prophet can be any age but they all have to be between 20 and 50. They get kicked out after 50.

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: January 22, 2020 04:51PM

And kicked in at 20.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: January 23, 2020 11:40AM

Yes. And all will be required to be married and procreating some potential converts.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 22, 2020 05:37PM

A different interpretation of these events:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/22/us/grove-united-methodist-church-replanting-trnd/index.html

Older members would still have grounds for upset, although perhaps not as much as before. The article also describes the generational problem and the emergent strategy in a bit more detail.

It's an interesting datum on the state of established religions in the United States.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 22, 2020 05:58PM

"They were requested to move to an alternative worship for 15 to 18 months during this transition time but they were never asked to stay away for two years," he said.

Oh, right! The faithful church members were asked to stay away for 15-18 months, NOT two years. Thank you UMC church for the clarification. That makes everything okay! Oh, right, it doesn't. The UMC just gave itself a huge pat on the back on MLK day for supporting civil rights. Just not for the middle-aged and the old, evidently. Perhaps the "church" should send old people off to the furnaces. After all, older people are useless, aren't we?

Nah, I'm not buying it. This is pure spin. The older members were asked to go some distance away to the sister church, what the UMC now has the gall to call, "alternative worship" for 15-18 months at a minimum. Then to ask the new pastor if it was a good time for them to come back. They were asked to still donate money to the local church and to donate their labor in terms of shoveling snow off of sidewalks, etc. -- but not to actually attend there.

This is just doublespeak. I can understand the church leadership wanting to change the worship style or focus of the church. I'm sure that the older members are cognizant of the fact that they need to attract young families. But to tell them to take an extended 15-18 month break is nothing short of rude and ungrateful for what the older members have given to the church over the years.

One of the older members is the church's retired UMC pastor! And even he is being treated like garbage.

I have not seen anything yet to challenge the notion that the UMC is behaving in a shameful manner and needs to be exposed for it.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 22, 2020 06:15PM

> I have not seen anything yet to challenge the
> notion that the UMC is behaving in a shameful
> manner and needs to be exposed for it.

Very possibly true. It would be nice to see documentation of what happened, but it does seem that both versions of the story indicate that the church expressed considerable disregard for its most loyal members.

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