Chattanooga church launching class to help Baby Boomers with Medicare, Social Security and handling holiday stress – Chattanooga Times Free Press

If you go

› What: Boomers, Shakers and Beyond

› Where: Christ United Methodist Church, 8645 East Brainerd Road

› When: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4

› Program: The Rev. Charles W. Maynard, “Appalachian Quilt of Stories – Telling Your Own Story”

› Admission: Free

› To register: Go to; click “Get Connected,” then click on “Adult,” then “Small Groups.”

› Information: 423-892-9363 or the “Boomers, Shakers and Beyond” Facebook page.

More Info


› Tuesday, Oct. 4, 1:30 p.m.: The Rev. Charles W. Maynard, author and storyteller, who has written or co-authored 30 books.

› Monday, Oct. 24, 3 p.m.: Amy Boulware, licensed advanced practice master’s degree in social work on Medicare and Medicare supplemental insurance.

› Thursday, Nov. 17, time to be announced: Arnoldo Moore, Public Affairs Specialist for the Social Security Administration.

› Thursday, Dec. 1, time to be announced: Pam Johnson, licensed clinical social worker, and clinical psychologist Amy Perkins speak on handling holiday stress


At a time when many churches are reaching out to millennials and focusing on children’s ministries to keep young families in the fold, one local church is launching a program geared to baby boomers.

Early in October, Christ United Methodist Church is cranking up “Boomers, Shakers and Beyond” with four speakers who will offer information about Medicare, Social Security and handling holiday stress. It’s open to anyone age 50 or older.

“I have listened to my friends in other churches and seen churches putting an emphasis on youth programs and not as much on people my age or people my parents’ ages,” says Carolyn Thompson, a Christ UMC member who is coordinating “Boomers.”

“Chattanooga is advertised as a retirement community, but what is really out there for retirees?” asks Thompson, who retired from TVA two years ago. “I feel like God is saying there is something you can do. I’m not ready to sit down yet. I’m really enjoying life.”

While the church is providing a place for the new group to meet, Thompson has no funding. Yet she and her committee of five have managed to line up volunteer speakers.

“The program is designed for learning new things, enhancing old skills, exchanging thoughts on numerous topics, meeting new people, participating in community service projects and, in general, having a great time,” describes Mary Ann Bryant, a committee member.

Thompson says older seniors “want socialization,” a network of friends they can connect with, while younger boomers are facing decisions about Social Security, when to retire, Medicare, and keeping active in retirement. So she has incorporated both viewpoints into coming months’ programs.

“Boomers, Shakers and Beyond” will kick off with a program by author and storyteller Charles W. Maynard. The Rev. Maynard, a former Chattanoogan and United Methodist minister, has written or co-authored 30 books, with 21 of those children’s books. He received the Reed Environmental Writing Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center for “The Blue Ridge — Ancient and Majestic.”

He was the first executive director of the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and was director of advancement at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tenn.

“Boomers, Shakers and Beyond” is nondenominational, Thompson adds, and she is already partnering with other churches for group activities. Brainerd Baptist Church has invited the new group to join its Nifty Fifty senior adults on three upcoming day trips, she says.

“Our purpose is to serve the community, not to draw new members to Christ United Methodist,” Thompson says. “We want to provide socialization for older seniors, information to younger seniors who haven’t retired yet and, with input from participants, we want to plan community service projects.”

Thompson says there also a survey on the “Boomers, Shakers and Beyond” Facebook page that will provide valuable feedback to organizers for upcoming topics and speakers, she says.

Contact Susan Pierce at [email protected] or 423-757-6284.

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